Cali-forn-yahhhh! Part I

So we recently went on a 9 day journey throughout the southern region of California. To give you an idea of how long this 9 days took to plan, let’s just say we booked the flights in November just before Thanksgiving, then the Air BNB’s after that and didn’t finally finish booking the lodging until the end of December… Mostly we were looking for good deals, but we were also trying to gauge our ability to actually do as much as I had planned for us to do…

We ended up with 7 (ok 10) destinations, 12 pages of itinerary, and a lot of amazing sites to see ahead of us.

I’ll admit, I’ve been reluctant to dive into the experience because (selfishly) I was so overwhelmed with joy while we were there, that I was afraid by sharing it I would lose a piece… but maybe instead this will inspire some new grand tour! I hope so!

So the plan was… to take a rod trip… a fun, carefully planned adventure which I assure you was an eye opener (brilliant and terrifying).

In the process of deciding where we wanted to go we considered Hawaii (flight took too long), Bali (we have a friend there who could tour guide us on a budget, but again the flight problem), Iceland (too cold in February), and finally… it dawned on me… I’ve (I mean we) always wanted to go to California!!

In fact, (my geeky side is showing) on my “5 year plan” (that is actually more of a loose set of hopes for the next 5 years) California is on there! It seems like a logical destination as well, since we wouldn’t need to worry about international barriers.

The good news is I checked off this glorious item from my bucket list. The bad news is, now I want to go back and see everything else!

Considering the length (depth) of the trip I chose to break it down into several blogs. Ready!

Day one….

Los Angeles

Oh yes the city of Angels: traffic, surfing, legal marijuana (which was clear by the clouds), and of course Hollywood. How can you possibly not be excited to brush past some super famous star on your way to get a gluten-free-soy-organic-bone-broth-frappe?

All jokes aside, I hardly pay attention to movie stars, I don’t watch reality shows, and unless it’s Mila Kunis, Ryan Reynolds or like 3 other people I could recognize, I wouldn’t be that excited. So Hollywood, we avoided. Venice beach however, was a totally different vibe.

The beach, was gigantic! It’s like a football field of sand. I guess the East Coast beaches have less girth… it was awesome!

The urban art game was amazing (on fleek)!

Only downside:

I was shocked at the homeless population; but despite their circumstances everyone seemed content, which was another surprise. I didn’t see many people that looked unhappy. It’s hard to pin down but going to a city like New York, people aren’t that outwardly easy to read. It seemed that there was a lot more transparency on the west coast.

So we walked Ocean Ave from our Air BNB to the downtown area of Venice, up the boardwalk and down to Bulletproof which was where my coffee game changed forever.

Clearly I had to bring this recipe to my kitchen because it was literally the best tasting, most energizing coffee I’ve had but without the crash! I should be getting paid for this endorsement, but it’s just true!

There we had brunch and it was still only 9:30 am, thanks to East Coast time for making me a West Coast morning person!

This was a yucca (gluten free potato-like thing) toast with avocado, smoked salmon and some other glorious magic! It was a whole new level of avocado toast.

So we fueled up and headed down route 1, starting out on our epic 9 day journey all around the southern part of California.

But first!

Santa Monica Pier

We would have ridden bikes down to it but it was a bit further than we wanted so we drove about 15 minutes north to check it out!

As we were walking in, a Buddhist monk offered Joe a bracelet saying something that sounded like “Pizza” and we realized he was saying “peace”. He was asking for a donation to help build a temple, so naturally joe offered him $5. But he pointed in his wallet to the $20 and said “noooo peeeaaassa”.

So we gave him a $10 and got two bracelets , wrote our names in his little book and now we can add “getting shaken down by a Buddhist monk for temple money” to our list of random life experiences we never expected!

The place was cute for kids! I think if I were a teenager I’d want my boyfriend to take me here for a date!

There were many people playing instruments and singing and even some jazz flute which made my day!

It was a cool place, but off we went to our next destination(s).

Rodondo Beach

On the list of beaches I wanted to see this one was pretty high, mainly because it’s somewhere in the middle of busy LA life and laid back OC life…

It was a bit overcast but no problem for us since we didn’t plan to actually lay on the beach…

This was the Narragansett of the LA beaches in my opinion. Quaint but upscale and definetly beautiful!

So peaceful and again the beaches were huge in depth!

We then drove down Route 1 through some rough neighborhoods, and some oil rigs, (the Bridgeport of route 1), industrial and not too pretty.

Then we got to the pretty parts:

As we drove down this historic highway 1, I couldn’t help but think how cool it must have been in the 1960s driving a muscle car or a convertible down this route.

It really is the most beautiful after we got out of the city, and refinery area.

I couldn’t believe it was only 2:00pm… we had jammed so much in such a small amount of time but we didn’t feel rushed or tired it was just incredible!

I had an itinerary for each place we went, the LA one was pretty short, since we really only wanted to sleep, see some beaches, eat some tacos and set out our way… but the way down to San Diego had a lot of stops.

Beaches mostly, but the last stop was in Orange County at Laguna beach. Again, not for the reality stars, just for the beaches. I must say, I definitely understand what the hype is about. It’s amazingly beautiful!

We walked the majority of the walk on this walkway which I’m sure was donated by someone or in memory of someone but I didn’t catch the plaque.

So, there were a few different beaches here, the first was Goff’s Island beach.

The next was Treasure Island, where there were sea caves that glow purple and possibly hidden treasure.

As we continued down this path, my ultimate goal beach was Victoria beach and 1000 Steps beach, which were on opposite ends of each other.

Victoria beach was my main interest. The castle-like structure has a conflicting history. Some say it was for pirates, others say it was a light house. What is known for sure, is that the most recent owner was Bette Mitler. It is definetly a staircase, and it is definitely beautiful!

Some history is unknown by me but maybe someone can fill in the blanks. I know at high tide these (foundation looking) pools fill up with water and become warm tide pools!

What is inside? A rusty old spiral staircase. Spoiler!

What a beautiful place though! It really has this enchanting element, doesn’t it?

We got here just in time to realize we only paid for 2 hours of parking and we definetly were going to miss that window… so we scrambled back to the car.

At this point it was about 4:30 almost 5:00 and the sun was going down fast… 1000 Steps beach will be for my next Southern California tour.

We met up with some friends at a rooftop bar in town, called Sky Loft. It was a little swanky but mostly laid back, and the view was amazing!

We had some cocktails and dinner then headed for our final destination…

20,572 steps later….and a couple hundred drivable miles.

San Diego.

Stay tuned to hear about the next step in this 9 day adventure. Fun, fancy free, creative and on a budget!

If you like my blog please leave feedback or share with a friend. Or follow on Instagram! Thanks for reading!

For more information on the details of this trip shoot me an email or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to give you more info!


Mind Over Your Matters

Have you been paying attention to yourself lately? It’s a funny thing that we constantly put people in our lives ahead of ourselves and wonder why we get headaches, sickness etc. Women are especially guilty of this kind of selfless behavior because of our (maybe natural) inclination toward care-taking. We need to cut ourselves off! If we can’t take care of ourselves, do we expect others to? (We shouldn’t.)

In our world today we face trauma daily; in the news, in our community, maybe at work, definetly on social media, and yet do we know how that affects us? If we have become desensitized to some of the usual broadcasts than what does that mean for our well being? It is a learned condition to be at a heightened awareness during times of danger. Our fight or flight response is both adrenaline with cortisol and ladies it not only makes us fat, but it makes us tired and generally unwell. We need less trauma, and less drama!

So what do you do to lower your stress if you have so much stress!? How can you enjoy the life you have now and not in the rear view…You have to get your mind over your matters.

First things first: look at your day and ask yourself how much time do you spend checking in with yourself? I do it at least 3-4 times a day. I need to. For the time being, I work with a population of people who have emergency after emergency. Maybe they are getting evicted, maybe they lost their job, but whatever the case, by the time they come to see me they are in a desperate situation. It’s not easy to manage other people when you haven’t checked in with yourself. You have to, like they say on a plane, secure your oxygen mask before assisting others.

Which brings me to my second extremely important concept. Breathing. When is the last time you took a full deep breath? It seems silly but when we are stressed we take shorter, lighter breaths and this doesn’t allow your body to flourish. Here are reasons to inhale properly… and trust me when I tell you that you will feel better. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to take a deep breath. If I find myself getting aggressive or irritated I try to check my breathing because it really can realign you. Also the more oxygen the less wrinkles… it’s science.

If someone asks you what brings you joy? Could you answer them?

Take a few minutes and jot down things you like to do… now, make time for them! I say it over and over to everyone I talk to, that you need to have you time! You need to be happy, for your sanity, and for the sake of your loved ones. I’ll give you an example. I went through about 2 and a half years of very dark, very unhappy times. My father died, he left a mess of an estate, my mother was dependant on me, I was balancing my feelings like an iceberg.

It was clear that things needed to change and I knew they would. Sometimes we face trials, and sometimes we create them because we are too wound up. We get ourselves involved and react quickly because we haven’t checked in about why this triggers us? Or maybe we know and yet we are falling into the same negative pattern. Stop this habit.

I know for me, I needed to separate myself from the problems I was facing. I knew when I removed myself, mentally, and didn’t own those issues, I could tackle them more effectively. It’s a neat trick about taking your mind over your matters and realizing that you are not your problems. You are a beautiful human doing what errands life has given you. Some have more to shovel than others.

Build meaningful relationships. If a relationship you have isn’t serving you, why keep nurturing it? I’m not suggesting you tell your friend that, since she’s been busy, we no longer have a friendship. The reality is people are doing the best they can. If you are finding that someone is too needy, or the relationship is strained because they always have to be right, or just generally exhausting, just stop. I see so many wonderful women in my life giving into feeling bad because they can’t do everything in their romantic relationship. Yet, they never question the other party!? I think ladies, if you need a break from feeling exhausted in your friendships, or in your romantic relationship…You don’t need to say it outloud.

You simply need to stop, think about your needs and say, okay I’m going to change something.

Ladies we are all (or at least most of us) guilty of staying in a relationship with someone too long, or letting one surface that we aren’t really sure about. This is selfish, and in a way it’s destructive. We shouldn’t be staying in romantic relationships simply because we are that age, or we want it to work, or it’s gotten better. No! These situations lead down a road of greater unhappiness later.

My example is being in a relationship with someone who checked off all the boxes in my superficial needs list (minus the good looking box)… he bought me presents, he was thoughtful (when he screwed up) and he strung me along. This isn’t love, people. He was not only the wrong partner but he wasn’t even a very good friend. He was jealous, mean, and why did I tolerate that? I was used to it. I didn’t know my worth and I let it go on for too long because it had already gone on for too long. In hindsight I lost a lot of opportunities to grow during that time…. but it was a valuable lesson!

When it finally ended it was like a breath of fresh air, and a relief. Sure I was sad, only because I was used to this person being on call, or checking in or whatever. It was super unhealthy and I know now where I went wrong. I didn’t listen to people who cared about me.

So what’s the point of this story? Don’t date jerks (easier said than done)? More like if you know in the back of your mind it’s not right, you’re right. If your actual friends agree with what you probably already know, then get out! Your life matters, you should be happy, you shouldn’t feel weighed down by the relationships you have, romantic or otherwise. They should be easy.

Not only should you be making meaningful connections in love but also in general. Find people who have good souls, and keep them. I learned this lesson, many times. Sometimes we try to categorize our circle as if we need a reason to be with the people we surround ourselves with. No! We aren’t “the plastics” (‘Mean Girls’ reference) we don’t need to be friends with people because we perceive them as better than we are! We need to be friends with them because they add value to our lives. If they don’t add something… ask yourself why you like them, if they are simply an acquaintance that’s okay! Not everyone needs to be your friend. You can just be friendly!

I find this overarching theme in my life being that I really, genuinely, like a lot of people, and therefore I want to be around them and yet I know I have 3-5 people I could call in the event of an emergency. Being a friend and having friends involves some give and take.

You find out during great times and during terrible times how the people in your life fit. I know now what qualities in people I value and what qualities I’d rather not get involved with. I suppose you learn this as you get older in general. I feel for my poor stupid 12 year old self… (man was she a push over). To a degree you live and you learn. Never compromise on supportive shoes, or friends… because both will be a pain after a while..

I was recommended a podcast by my cousin who is not only one of the healthiest people, but also extremely intelligent and trendy (highest praise)! I’m sharing it because I gave it a try and I was pleasantly surprised. I found out that some of the concepts I’ve been mentioning in the blog are mainstream and relevant (or maybe it just reinforces my general outlook). His show touches upon things such as finding your tribe, getting clear on your purpose, your needs and healthy habits. Life amplified with Dan Mason is the podcast. I found it to be honest, and in line with alot of what I talk about here. Check it out!

Bottom Line(my mom’s favorite line) :

Self care is key. Get yourself to the nearest mirror and ask yourself how you are doing then get your mind over your matters! You have the power to change your mind and your life!

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Find inspiration and then make your own!

Thanks for checking out the latest blog and stay tuned for what’s coming up!!

How to Break Your Stress Cycle… (and other adulting hazards).

When did you decide this was it? Did you wake up today and decide this is exactly what you meant to do? Well from 7:00am-5:30pm, Monday through Friday I do not. Then, after my day is over, I return to what I meant to do with my time. I know what you’re thinking: You’re Batman?! Sadly, no. I’ve managed to micromanage myself into a clear cycle… one which must be broken!

Here we go!

I go home, and proceed with the rituals established when I started a 9-5… (exercise, make dinner…you see where this is going). If you have kids you already know the struggle. Butthis is not a parental story, this is self imposed insanity! Arguably worse because there is no small child to blame for why I am so burnt out. (Sound familiar, friends?) I digress.

On the weekends I have the luxury of relaxing right?

Absolutely not.

I’m cleaning. I’m prepping. Yes, I’m having a little (carefully scheduled) fun. But all the while thinking: “I need to do something productive so I’m not ‘stressed out’ this week.”

Yes some might say this is anxiety in full form; stressing about feeling stressed. I happen to think it’s a condition that being in the modern workforce instills in us. It’s the fear…

What is the fear?

You’re afraid to be late.

You’re afraid you’ll get fired.

You’re afraid you aren’t meeting the goals.

You are afraid that you might derail your diet or whatever limits you’ve placed on yourself.

You’re afraid of drama in the office, or just nervously watching your back because fake-friend-Terry (not a real person) is going to snap at any moment.

Afraid of your boss.

Afraid of offending someone.

Afraid of growing old.

Afraid of being a disappointment or failing your team.

Just plain old strung out and scared for Monday…. All throughout your weekend… as you fly from errand to errand, carefully making sure to stay within your budget, while you grocery shop with the rest of the working class crowd.

Then FOMO (“fear of missing out”: for the real adults) kicks in, and you realize you spent so much time being afraid you only really have 1 day or maybe mearly hours of your weekend left. Those precious hours of recharging or just being “yourself” are quickly evaporating. Now that you’re really triggered, you’re scrambling to make the most of what is now the end of your Sunday. You realize that you still have to return to your daily “grind”…and the fun sizzles right out…

So why are we hard wired with the fear?

In a book I recently read called Tribes it addresses the fear as a manifestation of a “sheepwalking life”. Basically, if you deviate from your self imposed or office imposed “norms” then you get the fear. The fear is not defined in the book but I thought it was valuable to mention.Throughout this book I find it outlandish and yet romanticized to consider changing up the “status quo”, and forge a not-so-cookie-cutter path. However I don’t know when I’ll have time… (But if you are ready to change or or perhaps already have, the book is compelling and worth a look! Back to my point…)

Insert sadness…

Then sadness and reality is the next stage: It’s Sunday. That Friday-feeling has completely turned into your meal prepping Sunday blues…

How do you make a mark on the world with 2 days off (if your job is insignificant) and when 79% of the total 2 days is spent stressing out about the week ahead?

Regret, here it comes people…

It is during this point that you decide to sulk. You have to return to real life and yet you feel that you hardly got started. Suddenly the high school math homework nightmares seem like they really could have been the answer. You should have gone to school for something “better”… and the Monday-dread wouldn’t be this bad. Bargaining with yourself is also a stage of grief… (just saying).

So the cycle continues…

How do you break the cycle of adulting stress? I have a couple of simple solutions to get your needs met and live a little!

1. Make a list of happy wants and needs.

Yes I want to clean out my closet. I do not need to do that to function on Monday. Make your list work for you!

Use categories:

  • Things you want to see this weekend: A movie? An art exhibit? A new park in town? Yes the world exists outside of Facebook, you need to get there!
  • Things you want to do for peace of mind: (see above cleaning of the closet.) There is a lot to be said for good living space vibes and fung shui.
  • Goals are always good. They make us feel like we must pay attention to them. If you need to set goals to see a movie, do it!

2. Make time for yourself ALONE, no social media allowed.

  • The latest Facebook rant can wait for 45 minutes. You need time for you.
  • Find a quiet space and just hang out with your fur baby, or read, or be still. Meditation is an idea but something tells me you aren’t there yet.
  • Gather your thoughts. Focus your attention on what your body is telling you. Maybe you need a pedicure, and it’s clear…
  • Give yourself the break you need, don’t harp on the things that aren’t getting done. You don’t NEED to do everything.

3. Try something new.

  • I promise: It’s hard but it’s rewarding. Try a new route to the grocery store. Try a new recipe. Try to step outside your comfort zone and feel uncomfortable. I assure you it’s a step in the right direction. You need this!
  • Change the routine in a way that allows you to get your needs met and gives you new perspective. Maybe you just needed to do your grocery shopping online for once, from the luxury of your couch. So what if it costs $10 for delivery! You deserve a break!

4. Do something you care about, if you don’t know what that is… take the first step.

  • Maybe you always wanted to learn a language. Try it!
  • Maybe you like to paint or draw or some art inspired thing. Do it!
  • Maybe you really want to give back to your local community.
  • Maybe you just want to spend time looking for ideas for a new project.

Burnout is born when we give up our time for things we don’t care about.

We must actively pay attention to what our thoughts and our body and our lives are telling us. I know personally, I’ve been known to overdo it. I have to check myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed and bring it back to home base.

Perspective is how you look at things, but self reflection is how you choose your path. You can conquer the things you think are looming and have a life! You can look at it as a positive or a negative but you still have to show up on Monday…

Remember! You decide how to spend the time you have. Once you find yourself in the cycle, I hope you dance (I mean stop it from spiraling)! If you need an intervention phone a friend, make a plan, but don’t sit idle and suffer through a weekend of the same stressors. You need to recharge and you don’t need to be everything to everyone!

Now get out there and be free to own your freedom!