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Catching a Wave in Rincon

One of my favorite things to do whenever I’m in Rincon is work on my stand up paddle surfing skills.  I starting SUP surfing five years ago and I still find it thrilling every time a catch a wave (even a small one).

Learning how to SUP surf was a slow process for me, but with practice I steadily got better and started taking on larger waves. To me, SUP surfing is beautiful — almost an art form — and an exciting way to be out of the water. Here’s a short video of one of my last paddle surf trip and the beautiful scenery that I see as I catch a wave.

If you want to try paddle surfing on your next trip to the beach, these SUP surfing tips can help you get started.

Scupper: a Sato’s Rags to Riches Life

Puerto Rico is a wonderful and downright passionate island with a lively mix of natives and American transplants adding to its spicy cultural life. In Rincon, our winter home, there is a sense of purpose within the community that helps keep our environment beautiful and healthy for all of us to enjoy.  One thing both locals and visitors to Rincon have in common is an awareness of the need to keep down the dog, cat, and horse population to ensure the island can thrive and have healthy animals enjoying it too!

There are cultural differences between the way Puerto Ricans and Americans approach pet care, especially when it comes to spaying and neutering male dogs. This means the number of stray animals that are born and thrive on the streets and beaches never really decreases – hence the island has no lack of animals that need rescuing!

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The Best Way to Celebrate is to Love!

Instead of buying into the traditional commercialized take on romance, with expensive cards and flowers and chocolates, why not experience the day differently this year?  Valentine’s Day could be a day when we simply acknowledge and nurture the love we have for ourselves, a sport or even an animal!

The list of things I love is long — from family to friends, to my passion for my work, to Coconut. But my #1 Valentine is still and always my sweet husband Scott, who has demonstrated time and again what hard work and lots of love can do for a family.

Scott, James and CoconutScott is such a natural leader – in our household, in our community and in my life. As an all-round waterman with elite-advanced SUP instruction and competition experience, he’s the perfect partner in support of my business, Paddle Diva, offering ASI training and certification for those who want to be accredited stand up paddle instructors. At home, he and I still enjoy a good laugh and simple pleasures — like a shared cup of coffee in the morning, or observing one of our kids being exceptionally cute.  We like planning activities together and working out complex plans, for example, planning a family surf session in Puerto Rico. But we don’t need an excuse or a vacation to want to be together; we find ourselves coming together naturally during the day for little things, like walking with Coconut to the mail box to pick up our mail.

Years ago when we were dating I told Scott I was like a swan, I mated for life. And to this day, I still feel the same way. There is not a soul on the planet I’d rather be with than Scott — for the rest of my life. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Take a Bite out of Winter’s Bitterness

The worst thing about winter (for me) is the lack of beautiful summer fruits and vegetables. I live on salads, raw produce and smoothies and winter leaves me craving the variety of gorgeous local produce available “in season.” But thanks to my friends at Amber Waves Farm, I am lucky enough to have access to their greenhouse all winter that is managing to survive this brutal winter and all the cold snaps!

Gina_Green_HouseYou all know I’ve been a kale fan for years and years, before it was oh-so-fashionable. I get three different kinds from Amber Waves, plus an assortment of other leafy green vegetables, that are rich in vitamins A, C and K – all especially important for women’s health.

My friends (and kids, truth be told) tend to avoid these winter green veggies as many of them have a strong bite – some are even downright bitter, which can be an acquired taste. I LOVE the peppery flavor of kale, collards and mustard greens, but if you’re NOT like me, try pairing them with intensely flavorful ingredients that will offset the bitterness — like feta cheese and a little walnut oil. Here’s a delicious Tuscan kale salad that incorporates dried currants and parmigiano. Read the rest of this entry »

Coconut Certified as Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Turning your dog into an emotional support animal, or ESA, can be a bit controversial as some people use the certification to bypass “no pets” laws for housing and getting their pets into hotels, airplanes, and other businesses that are generally pet-unfriendly. When researching the topic, I found folks on both sides who were happy to share their thoughts on what is right and what is wrong when it comes to certifying your animal.

Ultimately, I decided to turn Coconut into an ESA dog for a few reasons. While quietly overcoming my own Post Traumatic Stress from a foot injury that resulted in hospitalization, the near loss of my foot and a long rehabilitation process,  I discovered that Coconut was a big help in speeding my recovery. Once home with my family again, it became apparent to me that we all needed her around us. She’s part of our family and her presence not only calms me down but always brings smiles to other people around her.

Coconut certified as an Emotional Support AnimalIf you want to legitimately certify your dog (and I suggest you do it this way) you have to go through a process that, while not regulated by the government, is monitored by healthcare professionals. Not all of those applying for the ESA certification are guaranteed to receive one. I had to take a battery of tests online and then interview with the counselors and psychiatrists who make a determination as to whether or not your situation qualifies. Clearly, Coconut’s presence helps tremendously with my emotional well-being so I proceeded with the ESA certification process.

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