laguna beach

Candid Thoughts on Taking Pictures

Last Friday, I decided on taking a break from procrastinating editing the thousands of pictures I have on my computer. When I say thousands I am not exaggerating. Sadly, I’m that kind of person that takes the pictues and never does anything with them. But I’m trying to change that about myself; hence, the three day picture editing marathon. Throughout the editing process, I’ve come to a few conclusions:

photo essay

I should take less picture.

Usually, I’m with people when I’m out and about taking pictures. If you know me, you also know that I’m not really any good at multitasking – which is not a bad thing, btw. I’m  concentrated in the conversations I’m having, which leads me to not really spending much time looking into my viewfinder and really taking my time to think of the composition of the picture I’m taking. This all leads me to believe that I should simply pause and think twice when taking a photo. It’ll make my time more efficient and both with the picture and the conversations I’m having.

I should take a few minutes and delete pictures straight from the camera before importing them on my computer.

This will cut down the time I spend trying to figure out which one of the many different waves look cooler – I really enjoy taking pictures of waves… you’ll notice that in a minute. Not just that, but if I do end up taking more pictures than needed, by doing this, even in the car on the drive home, or as soon as I get home, I might be able to cut down from hundreds of pictures to a few dozens. Which is much more manageable than what I have today.

I should be more efficient by copying the presets of the images I liked the edit.

I don’t have Lightroom at the moment, nor is it on my plan of buying it. When you are on a one-income family and that income is a graduate student stipend every penny counts. Luckily I can copy the preset on the photo editing app I’m using at the moment. That’ll also cut down my time editing pictures.

Not editing pictures makes me not want to take more pictures.

And that is a fact about myself – I don’t like to start project that I won’t finish. I have pictures still unedited from our trip to Calgary two years ago. That makes me so mad at myself, so I take no pictures at all, just a couple to post on Instagram – which will not represent half of what the trip or day was like. If I’m able to shorten the process, I’ll feel more encouraged to shoot new ones.

But first… I need to catch up the ones I currently have unedited on my computer.

So here are a few from this last batch of pictures that I finally was able to get them onto Flikr.

Balboa Island

corona del mar

corona del mar

laguna beach

laguna beach


laguna beach


crashing waves

crashing waves

blue II

Along the Horizon II

Orange and Blue III

Orange and Blue II

Hope you enjpyed them. As I continue to edit them, I’ll continue to share them with you.


Mindfulness Monday: Waiting

I wasn’t planning on writing any #mindfulnessmonday post today, but I find myself waiting for my husband to finish his office hours. We had planned to have a picnic while he waited for students to show up, it apparently they are freaking out with natural deductions. So while I wait, I decided to share with you my candid thoughts about where I am in my mindfulness journey.

Firstly, I have noticed that I don’t feel so panicky all the time. This is mainly because whenever I catch myself feeling overwhelmed or lost I do the intelectual exercise of being curious and trying to notice what I’m feeling and how I got there.

I don’t have the habit of journaling, but I do share these thoughts with my husband, since he is the one person I spend the most time with.

Exercising curiosity has been really helpful because I get out of my own problems more easily.

I have to admit that I still can’t quite keep up with the habit of meditating everyday. I hate that I don’t, but I’m practicing self-kindness by not allowing myself to feel frustrated because I still haven’t gotten to the place where I want to be.

I have been, however, taking more time to read the Bible and have some quiet time by practicing lettering with bible verses. Once again, I have an accountability partner – my cousin – who I send her my verses and she sends me hers. I’m

Lastly, I track everything! From my mood, to the herbal teas I drink, me meditation practice, and even my bowel movements! My husband was even praising me for doing it the other day. And I was trying to explain to him that I need to do it, in order to be able to asses my mental health.

So once a day I stop and think about how I felt and what that day was like. It’s been really helpful to see and keep track of the things in my life I’m trying to be more mindful.

So here’s where I am. Far from a role-model of mindfulness but on my journey. And I think that’s what really matters.

How is your mindfulness journey going? I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts with me.

free time ideas

Free Time Ideas – #2 Touch Typing Lessons

As a kid, my parents bought my brothers and I a computer game that would teach us to touch typing. The problem with that, was that I understood the purpose of the game, but going to the next level was more important than learning. 25 years passed and I still feel the need to look at my fingers when I type.

So about a year ago I decided that I should use my free time to get out of this terrible habit that I grew up with. And this is something that you don’t need to get out of your P.J.’s to start.

After some time looking into different free online options, I found a couple that are user-friendly and I have been getting real results.

typingclubThis one is super cute! It looks like it’s made for kids to learn to type, but it’s actually very effective. The screen has a big image of hands on the keyboard helping you to not look at your hands. Oh! It has some cute games to play and learn.

What I really like about this one, is that after every new position on the keyboard, you practice it by typing real words using what you’ve already learned, which I think is better that the asdfg asdfg asdfg that I’ve found on other websites.

The one thing I don’t like about it, is that to pass to the next level the standard is really low. But that’s probably because it’s made for kid.

Screenshot (5) has been my favorite out of all the websites I’ve used to far. Like, it has the image of  hands on a keyboard to help guide you when you are uncertain. But it’s much more grown up oriented. It even gives you a certificate to show your results if ever needed.

What I like most about it, is the clear goals and levels. On this website, you can also practice with real words, but there are also a lot of random combinations to help you practice, extending and helping learn new letter many more times before moving on to the next one.

Practicing touch typing started as something that I’d do just to pass the time. But now, it’s become a habit. Every time I sit down in front of my computer, for whatever reason it is, I practice at least five minutes. It works as a warm up for my fingers, but it’s also a good mindful reminder that I’m there to do something and not just pass time.




mindfulness silence

Mindfulness​ Monday: Silence


In this crazy world we live, sometimes Silence might seem unachievable. The funny thing is that our brain needs silence to be able to function better. There’s a Huffington Post article from January 2017 with 4 science-backed reasons for why our brain needs silence, which are:

1. Silence helps relieve stress and tension.
2. Silence replenishes our mental resources.
3. In silence, we can tap into our brain’s default mode network.
4. Getting quiet can regenerate our brain cells.

Along the Horizon II
I, myself, constantly find it hard to find time for silence in my life. Now, for instance, I have a Bon Iver album playing in the background as I write this post. Even though I notice the benefits of being in silence in my life, it’s still hard. I have, though, a few tricks up my sleeve for finding silence.

  • I use a timmer that rings every 2 or 5 minutes. I understand that it might seem counter productive to purpusefully add a sound to when your trying to find silence. But when I start getting impatiente, these bells help remind of what I’m trying to acheive.
  • I practice a few Sun Salutations before being silent. Just a couple of sequences are enough to set the mood and help quiet my mind to be able to enjoy the silence.
  • Tea helps. The warmth and smell of a nice herbal tea – roiboos preferably – really helps set the mood. Lavander and passion flower tea, also smell really nice and help calm your body.
  • Breathing exercises can add an extra mental task. Sometimes it’s hard to quiet the mind and I get too impatient to meditate, so I switch to breathing exercises to give my brain something to do while being in silence.
  • Try a meditation class. This one is something new for me, btw. In a meditation class, you are intentionally in an enviroument that is set for silence.

california waves

The most important thing is that you try to silence somehow during your days and give your brain a break. I hope this post finds you well.



polenta and kale recipe

Easy Cooking: Polenta and Greens for One!

*Bare with me right now. I’m going to try something completely new!*

Who said that cooking for one had to be boring? When I used to live by myself, people at my work thought I was kind of crazy to put so much effort into making meals for myself – especially since I didn’t have a stove in my apartment.

I’ve always found pleasure in cooking the food that I make. So it doesn’t really matter if I’m cooking for 10 or just me, I’ll enjoy the process and I’ll enjoy the food too!

Every quarter or so, my husband gets these schedules when he doesn’t have time to have lunch with me.* So I often find myself searching for things I can cook that will be easy, tasty and that I don’t need to make huge portions.

*In Brazil, lunch is the main meal of the day, and even though it’s not the custom here, we still do it.


One of my go-to’s is Polenta. It’s so easy to make and you can make as much as youneed to. Just add cornmeal to hot water, season it and let it cook. Voila!

You need a complement for this meal, so chop some onions and garlic and stir-fry it with any leafy green – like spinach or kale – add color and a whole lot of nutrients. Win-win in my opinion. Oh, and you’ve gotta have kimchi!

Lastly,  fry an egg and add to top it off. It’s a low-calorie protein option and to be honest, it’s probably my favorite kind of protein!

This is one of my number one meals for when I’m eating by myself. It warms you inside as you eat that creamy polenta. Not to mention that it balances the bitterness of the green of your choice.

Hope you enjoy it! Let me know what are your feelings about the polenta once you’ve tried it!


polenta and kale recipe

Polenta with Stir-Fry Kale, Fried Egg, and Kimchi.


  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 3 large kale leaves (can be substituted for 2 cups spinach)
  • 1-2 tbls olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and crushed red chili flakes (optional)


  1. In a medium-size pan, boil water. Once it’s boiling, season with salt, then reduce heat and stir the water in circular motions. Slowly add the cornmeal while continuing to stir – the cornmeal with slowly start to thicken. Stir for 5 minutes and cover the pan. Add more hot water if necessary. The polenta should be ready in 15-20 minutes.
  2. While the polenta is cooking, chop onion and garlic. And prepare the kale leaves by removing the stem. Chop the stem into small pieces. In a frying pan (or wok) add the olive oil and fry the garlic, onion and kale stems. Fry them until tender.
  3. In a separate pan, fry the egg.
  4. Once the polenta is done, add the kale leaves to the garlic, onion and, kale stems until the leaves are tender and bright green. Season with salt, pepper and chrushed red chili flakes.
  5. Plate the polenta, kale and, egg. Add the kimchi.