College hoopla. All last week. After all getting word about which colleges they all got into (or didn’t), my son and all his friends (many kids I’ve known since kindergarten) are all kind of sitting back now – away from the web sites where they’ve been scanning for their names – and restructuring their lives in their heads. Very few got their first-choice schools, or even any school they’d been picturing for the last several months. All the schools were so impacted, and students in the top 5-10% of their class weren’t getting their first picks (or sometimes even their second or third), or weren’t even getting into the California University system where they thought they’d be. Their visions are all shifting: from palm trees to pines, from private to public, from living at home to being away, from being away to living at home. … They all look a little shell-shocked.
And while the kids all stare off into space, trying to wrap their heads around schools they hadn’t pictured, Moms and Dads are freaking out over the money. Most of us haven’t gotten Financial Aid letters yet, so we’re all looking at sticker prices: $12,000/year tuition, plus $12,000 room and board. Or $24,000 tuition, plus $8,000 room and board. Or $30,000 tuition, plus $12,000 room and board. The shell-shocked looks go both ways, for sure. …
Once the dust settles, we’ll all come up with a plan. Ricky got: University of Oregon (yes); UCLA (no); UC Davis (no); UC Santa Barbara (waitlist). All those honors classes, AP tests, all-nighters and exams started to become meaningless when he was turned down by his favorite schools. This seems to be the month of shock and awe, followed by some decisions by the end of the month, when deposits have to be put down.
In the meantime, I’ll be staring at Nathan’s army men set up across my dining table, still feeling a little shell-shocked. …
Lots o’ swag came out of the Natural Products Expo West weekend this year! Whenever I come home, and start laying out all the great new health-food products across my dining table, my kids get all excited! They particularly love the coconut water, yogurt-covered anything, Pirate’s Booty/Popchips and other crunchy snacks. And this year there was a lot of herb- or vitamin-infused chocolate! (So Rene loved that.)
From previous expos, we’ve added to our diets: Greek yogurt, silk milk, and omega 3s. So even though I’m there for article ideas for work, the Sanchez family does benefit from some lessons learned! This year, I’m particularly curious about all the alternative sweeteners (Stevia, agave, etc.). I brought home lots of samples of those.
Are there any cool new health foods you’ve incorporated into your and your family’s diets?
Well, it’s that time of year again, and I’m heading to the Natural Products Expo West with the editorial team, in Anaheim, right near Disneyland.
We’ll wander the aisles — tasting, sipping, sampling and slurping all the yummy new products they have. I’ll be tweeting, blogging and Facebooking all day as Lifescript, so if you want to know what’s new in the natural-products world, c’mon over to Health Bistro and follow along!
In the meantime, here are some images from last year:
There’s food …
And more food. …
(And samples galore! We come home with incredible swag bags!)
I actually get to serve as the official photographer this year, so that’ll be fun. If you want to see more food porn, come over to Health Bistro and check out our posts all weekend.
As much as I look forward to my camellias blooming in February for their pink beauty in winter, I look forward to my jasmine blooming in March for its amazingly fragrant scent!
I wish your computer had a scratch-and-sniff that I could send you this fragrance. It’s so strong you can smell it all the way down our street.
We first planted this jasmine (it’s right off our back patio) almost immediately after we moved in. I’d always wanted my own jasmine plant. Mostly because we rented a condo (when we were young marrieds) where the owner had planted jasmine that wrapped itself up an orange tree, and the combo of that fragrance always stayed with me. I vowed that as soon as we had our own place, I would plant jasmine myself. I started out with a little 5-gallon plant, and — in no time — the little thing spread all along our fence. It blooms in late February and early March, starting out as a narrow bright-pink bloom, then bursting into a tiny white flower and sending out that glorious scent. As you can see from the photo, we’re only about halfway through the blooming season, so I get to enjoy that fragrance for quite some time.
The scent of jasmine will always remind me of the beginning of spring. …
My grandma’s 90th birthday was a big success! She loved the album my parents and I put together for her:
And she blew out all her candles:
And a lot of extended family (including a niece, grand-niece, and great-grandniece) came in from Texas and Florida and Ohio. …
Then my parents, my aunts, uncle and Grandma all took off for Vegas the next day, where they met with even more family from Texas and Washington, D.C. and gambled together for days! (I, unfortunately, didn’t get to go to Vegas, but I heard it was fun!)
At the birthday party, I was struck (as I was with my other grandma, when we celebrated her 100th birthday!) with what wonderful and full lives these women have lived — through the depression, through WWII, in their little houses with their large families. I loved looking at the old pictures of them, with their kids and family gatherings, drinking punch in the living room with loads of cousins, or (in Grandma H’s case) camping and catching fish in kerchiefs with sisters, and laughing in all the pictures.
It’s the simplicity of their lives (and sometimes difficulty of their lives), combined with that joy, that always gets me.
It reminds me what a full life really looks like.