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For the health of your eyes, reduce your blue light exposure

A few months ago, I started getting regular headaches. It would happen at least a few times a week, usually after a day at work. I blamed it on my increased use of my eyeglasses and thought my prescription was incorrect.

So I asked my optometrist about it, and he had an answer right away; it certainly was not my prescription. My headaches were being caused by my computer screen, which emits blue light. Too much exposure to this particular wavelength can cause serious damage to your eyes, which are especially sensitive to blue light.

I was getting headaches at work because I’m on my computer almost the entire time! And it doesn’t help that I have two computer screens, one big enough to be my television.

My doctor tried to sell me on glasses that block blue light during computer use, and I really wanted to say yes for the practicality of it. But they looked so dorky! None of the styles he had available were stylish enough to attract my buying power, so I turned his offer down.

Instead, I found something better! It’s free software called flux that allows you to set the amount of blue light your computer emits throughout the day. I keep it simple and have it on my entire workday, and you can turn it off easily if you’re doing design work. I work on Photoshop a few times per week, so that feature has been essential. Even if you do more hours of design work than I do, flux will be a great help.

Even iPhone got on the bandwagon, and in iOS v 9.3.2, they installed what’s called “Night Shift” that does the same thing – blocks blue light. You can schedule it automatically, the same way you can schedule your Do Not Disturb setting.

It’s is pitched as a way to help you sleep better, but I have a personal rule not to look at computer or TV screens right before bed (30 minutes to an hour is a good buffer). Night Shift is great, but the discipline not to look at your phone for a lengthy period before bed is much more effective.

I’m sharing this information simply because most of us have phones for hands now, and many of us do a lot of work on computers. Let’s protect those eyes and keep their health for as long as possible, even in the SnapChat and Facebook age.

Cheyenne belongs in the forest.

4th of July Weekend aka My Break from City Life

The 4th of July holiday evokes images of fireworks, barbecues on the overcrowded beach, s’mores, and lots of time spent just looking for parking (in the city). The only thing I did on this list is the s’more part because for the second year in a row, I spent my holiday weekend at Moses Gulch.

It may become my and Conrad’s annual 4th of July trip. Going off the grid for even a few days really rewired my brain for the better, and I still dream of sleeping under the stars and Sequoias with no city noise or gross smog polluting the air. (One night, though, some bros decided to blast their country music – absolutely the rudest thing you can do in the middle of the forest besides burning it down.) And, though I’m a people person, I get tired of people every once in a while (my introvert takes over at some point). Not seeing or dealing with very many humans was kind of heavenly.

Okay, so reflecting on why I loved this trip even more than last year brought me to a conclusion: camping will be an annual trip. If not Moses Gulch (I could go there quite a few times before I get tired of it), it would be some other remote camping site in the middle of the forest. Maybe sleep among the redwoods sometime in the near future. And, of course, Lulu and her wonderful parents have to be there. What a bonus it was to pseudo-serendipitously bump into them and end up sharing their campsite! They certainly made the trip exciting and saved me and Conrad the prospect of spending the whole weekend on our own, which wouldn’t be terrible, of course.

A 30-45 minute hike uphill and worth the trouble.

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

I finally made it south of the border, after living my lifetime in sunny SoCal. This past weekend, I enjoyed beautiful, sunny, blue San Carlos with some friends hankering for the (so close but yet so far) SoCal summer sun. I couldn’t find many words to describe how pretty it is down there because it literally made me speechless. It also helped that lodging (right on the beach) was free, roomy, and also very beautiful; and our gracious hosts brought down their quad and awesome dune buggy both on which we didn’t ride enough.

The trip couldn’t be too perfect of course. All five of us got a bad round of food poisoning on day 2 – we knew that crab tostada from the Soggy Peso Bar was way too good to be true…

But it didn’t deter us from having a wonderful time in possibly the most beautiful place on the west coast. Even being sick there felt like paradise. I’m definitely earmarking my next vacation for this place again – I wouldn’t mind that at all.

Childhood meal: fish and tomato

Tonight, I decided to make a simple, tasty dinner to replicate my mom’s fish and tomato dish, something she prepared for me and my sisters pretty often when we were kids. She loves her fish, and so do I!

My mom prefers her fish deep fried, her tomato heavy with soy sauce, and just a spritz of lemon. I made a few modifications: I baked the fillet drizzled in sesame oil, was more generous with my lemon, and added green onion for color. A little different than what my mom is used to, but I think she’d like it.

Tomato and green onion dressed in soy sauce and lemon
Tomato and green onion dressed in soy sauce and lemon

 

Baked swai fillet drizzled in sesame oil and green onion with rice
Swai fillet baked and drizzled generously in sesame oil and green onion with white rice

Gourmet Work Lunch: Open-Faced Sandwich

I technically don’t bring my lunch to work. I don’t plan well enough ahead on the weekends to plan out and prep my work lunches, and I’m absolutely fine with that only because I found a type of work-lunching that I enjoy.

If I’m feeling super motivated and concerned about how expensive eating out can be, I buy a weeks’ worth of ingredients. Making sandwiches is a great place to start: for mine, I buy deli meat, a huge block of medium cheddar cheese, arugula or spinach, mayo or whipped cream cheese (if you haven’t tried it, please do), and tomato. Berries are usually my side because 1) at least one kind is in season at any point in time and 2) I love, love, love berries.

All together, a week’s worth of sandwiches and berries cost $10, give or take. That comes to $2 a day! I love being frugal in general, but even if I didn’t have to be, I would probably go for $2 a day anyway. And I’m not compromising on taste at all– I make good sandwiches, if I say so myself! Plus, the time I set aside each day to make my lunch is my time for quietness and meditation. While others might just want their lunch immediately on a workday, I don’t at all mind taking a few minutes to set it up.

For this week’s lunch, I made an open-faced sandwich on sourdough with

  • Aidell’s uncured dried-tomato and garlic salami (I highly recommend, it’s super tasty!)
  • Muenster cheese
  • Baby arugula
  • Dash of red wine vinegar and olive oil
  • Blueberries and cherry tomatoes on the side

Open-faced sandwich

It cost me way more than I’d like – $28 – because the closest grocery store to my workplace is Bristol Farms, which marks up their products like crazy. (Even Kraft cheeses are priced like they’re premium products…) I also bought enough for 10 days, so I’m set until next Wednesday. So this pretty lunch still cost me less than $3 a day.

Even if saving money isn’t in your interest, tasty, fresh lunches should be!

2013 in review

I didn’t write as much on my blog in 2013 as I did in previous years. It’s been a busy and most challenging year so far, and writing about it wasn’t a priority. But for 2014, I certainly do want to make it a priority… Thanks for WordPress for making an Annual Report for all the bloggers on the platform – it’s a great way to encourage us bloggers to keep on going!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Terin

Street fashion is one of my favorite things to observe and admire from afar, but I’ve never had the guts to randomly ask a stranger if I could photograph them and their awesome outfit to feature on my blog. On my way home today, I could no longer suppress that urge and finally bit the bullet. I was overwhelmed by Terin’s entire outfit and the confident strides he took in it, so I just went for it without thinking.

My favorite thing about his outfit: all thrifted for less than $100 (excluding the glasses and messenger bag). We shared mad mutual love for it. I love folks who take pride in thrifting – not only is it the best way to shop for gold mines, rarities, or just good ol’ statement pieces, but as a frugal shopper, it’s the best way to save cash on your wardrobe, hands down.

(In my haste, I forgot to ask how to spell his name or what he does for a living. So Terin, if you’re reading this, please enlighten! And thanks for being so sweet :])

Terin

Shirt: Original Penguin
Wingtip Shoes: Cole Haan
Jeans: J. Crew
Frames: Warby Parker Preston’s
Messenger bag: J. Crew
Watch: Merona

Check out my personal finance post about saving on your wardrobe by thrift shopping til you drop.