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Category archive for: Travel

Sophia Experience Palm Springs


This past week I attended a beautiful retreat in Palm Springs where six women  gathered together to celebrate one another.  To find tools we already had within to heal past wounds SLOWLY.  To release negative self-talk and to awaken our inner Sophia.  AND, we had a ton of good old fashion girl time!

The Sophia Experience Palm Springs was just what I needed!  I reached out to Morgan a few months ago asking if she’d consider a state side retreat.  Wishing I could join her in Italy on her abroad Sophia retreats, but knowing that just wasn’t in the cards for me…I selfishly suggested Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs (remember when Geoff and I went when we found out we were pregnant with Jack?  If not, here’s the blog post).

To my excitement, Morgan agreed that Korakia would be PERFECT!  And voila! Sophia Experience Palm Springs was in the books!  I was so thrilled to know that I was getting the chance to finally meet one of my teachers in person (I’d only known about her through her online yoga videos and her teachings on Facebook).  Also, the chance to have a couple nights away with girls…in Palm Springs…AT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL B&B?

I was over the moon!

Once the day arrived I was so giddy!  Geoff took me to PS for brunch then we headed back to Korakia.  It was so sweet to have him drop me off at the retreat.  We reminisced on our time there before a couple years ago, he took pictures of me finding my room (which happened to be next door to the one he and I stayed in before), opening up my gifts from Morgan.  He had me pose outside on the patio and under the bougainvillea surrounding the suit.

Then he left…and I was alone without my family

IMG_6012For the first time since having our son, I felt deeply saddened to be away from home.  I knew I had some heavy work to do over the next couple days at the retreat.  Even being away from them an entire week while doing my Holy Yoga training wasn’t this hard.  I had this amazing suit all to myself but soon realized I was going to have a lot of time..with myself.  Not by myself…but WITH parts of me I love and parts of me I don’t.

I remember someone telling me that sometimes what we learn from God, one on one with Him, should stay with us.  It’s not meant to be shared with the rest of the world.  It’s intimate and personal between you and Him.  I feel that way about my experience in Palm Springs.  Of course I’ll share some bits and pieces…but not all of it because it’s meant to stay there.

We did some of the best yoga I’ve ever done!  Jumping, dancing, laughing crying, we road the entire wave of emotions on our mats.  And some of us practiced in our undies and lingerie!  So freeing!  I did NOT wear a bra most of the trip! We exhaled sighs and SMILED at every part of our bodies.  We learned about the chakras and how they manifest or correlate to other parts of the body.  We soaked in the pool, ate great food together, got dressed up together, and had some EPIC girl time!  We talked about SEX and FEMININE WHOLENESS!!!  And it felt SOOOOO GOOD to be open about everything.  


We need to be free.

I learned just how closed off I am at allowing myself freedom.  I entered the retreat feeling so confident in myself, but quickly realized just how quick I am to hide my true self.  Like I’ve been walking around with this persona of a strong confident woman, but inside I still feel like the 7 year old girl who was awkward with a short boy’s hair cut, huge ears, and freckles. The new kid in school because she moved away from her family due to divorce, with a stepdad who didn’t want to notice her.  She was a shadow in her own home.   And the attention she received was a lot of bullying or being made fun for the way she looked and dressed at school.  She felt unseen and no one wanted to hear her.

Hard pill to swallow.

Coming face to face with that girl made me realize that I’m still her…and that I need to comfort her and show her how strong she is now.  That she is important and WORTHY of being seen and HEARD.  She is beautiful.  And SMART.


I’m sitting on my couch writing this a day before my 5 year open heart surgery anniversary and WHAT A RIDE I’ve been on since then.  So much self-discovery.  And I’m thankful.  The Sophia Experience really couldn’t have happened at a better time.  There is a theme to every form of self-care I’ve been a part of, whether through counseling with my therapist, seeing a psychic, working with my friend through Theta healing, my church, yoga and my artwork, and now this experience with Morgan and the rest of the Sophias there.

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I need to speak.  My block is my voice.  Allowing myself to truly be ME when I speak.  To own my words.  To not be afraid to be vulnerable and own up to not knowing what something means or sharing my point of view if it conflicts with someone else.  I’ve wanted to belong for so long that I’ve become a people pleaser and my voice got tangled up in it.  I also need to allow myself to listen to compliments.  To truths said over me…and own them as truths.  VERY, very hard, more so than speaking up for myself.

It’s a slow process, and that’ ok.  But in order for me to help others love themselves right where they are, I need to do the same.

I feel more FREEDOM already.

New Mexico: Family

IMG_0980New Mexico is the home of Geoff’s mother’s father’s family (make sense??).   The Aguayos are a well known family in Alto so when his Uncle Ron passed away, New Mexico is where he’d be laid to rest with many of his other family members, including Geoff’s grandfather.  I thought I had taken more pictures of his Aunt Judy’s beautiful home in the mountains, with it’s wrap around porch and family photographs from the past throughout the home, but I guess I found it more important to soak in time talking to family I’d never met, seeing all of these people who looked so much like my son!   

While we were staying in New Mexico, Geoff, Grant, Jack and myself stayed with Grandma Jeanette and John in the cutest little cabin.  It was so wonderful to spend some time with my mother in law now that she’s in Florida.  Jack absolutely loved cuddles, kisses and songs from his grandma and I enjoyed the home cooked breakfasts and hearing stories about her family…well I guess my family, too :)

Although we stayed in the cabin two nights, it went by so fast!  We arrived late afternoon on Saturday and spent Sunday with family.  It was raining hard Sunday for the memorial…kind of a beautiful back drop for the day.  The memorial for Uncle Ron was held at the church he attended with Judy.  Right when we arrived Jack started screaming so I took him in to the nursery and he and I played while I tried to listen to the songs and stories about Ron (but let’s be honest, Jack was soaking up much of my attention, crawling and screaming and teething and crying and laughing and climbing and….you get the picture!).  When I heard bagpipes playing, however, I grabbed Jack and we stood outside of the sanctuary and listened to them play.  Jack was mesmerized.  And what I loved most about the service that Jack and I both were able to see first hand was everyone gathered outside under the church’s walkway, a firetruck and possibly Ron’s uniform and boots, propped up next to flowers, were on display while the bagpiper played Amazing Grace…then Home.  While he played everyone hugged one another, Geoff took Jack and held him close, and I watched the bagpiper walk away into the rain, the pipes growing more and more faint, like Ron was walking home.  So beautiful.

After the memorial we went back to Aunt Judy’s where she told me stories of all the people in the photographs around her home.  I loved hearing stories of Ron and her.  Reminded me so much of Geoff and I.

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The next morning, Geoff’s 32nd birthday, we left Alto and on our way out, Geoff took me to a jewelry shop that his aunt worked for.  He told me to pick out something nice :)  So of course I chose turquoise earrings for my birthstone and because we were in New Mexico so why not!  I’ve been wearing them ever since.  Afterwards, we climbed back in the car with Grant and Jack and started our 8 hour drive to Phoenix!  More on our stay there soon!

Road Trip to New Mexico: Tucson


A couple months ago, Geoff’s Uncle Ron had passed away from his battle with cancer.  His family, the Aguayo’s, are from New Mexico and have a rich history in the area that we were traveling to, Alto and Ruidoso.  So it was only fitting that Ron’s wife, Judy, planned to have everyone out to visit and celebrate Ron’s life at their local church as well as her beautiful home in Alto.

Being that New Mexico is at 14 hour drive for us, Geoff, his brother Grant, Jack and I decided to chop up the drive a bit and stay in Tucson the first night of our road trip.  Jack’s been on drives that have been no more than 2 hours at a time, so we were all a little skeptical about how 6 hours would be for this little man.  Well, he did great!  Long naps in his carseat, one pit stop for all of us to use the restroom and for a diaper change for Jack, and some Netflix and lots of singing on my part (I sat in the back with him the entire roadtrip) made the drive bearable for him.

We stayed at the coolest Air BnB yet!  The Elysian Grove Market wasn’t our first choice.  Our previous rental had cancelled on us last minute so within 24 hours we had to find another place!  So I had no idea where we were staying until we pulled up to the market…the MARKET? Ha!  I was a bit skeptical at first, but once we walked into our digs for the night I immediately felt 100% grateful for the cancellation and fell in love with the thrifty and quirky vibe of this historical market turned loft.  Every piece of furniture and decor seemed to have some kind of story behind it, and there was so much character and funky do dads to look at and observe…Jack was in Heaven!

Once we unloaded the car (meaning Geoff and Grant while I watched Jack) we were ready to settle down and relax!  The owner also brews his own beer so there were beers to enjoy in the fridge.  Geoff and I had purchased a case full of different wines before the trip, for the trip, so we opened up a sav blanc from Justin (up in Paso Robles…mmmmm) and a French white.  Jack enjoyed a bottle of course.

This place is not baby friendly, however, in terms of floors and furniture so we had our eyes on Jack at all times.  Also, there is no AC and we were there during monsoon season and it just so happened to be the hottest day of the year…but later that night we experienced a desert downpour which made the evening lovely!  We sat outside, enjoying our drinks, Jack enjoying his first desert rain, and took it all in, watching the rain fall and laughing at the pet rabbit that roamed around in the back yard :)  IMG_0933

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That night we ate at the oldest Mexican restaurant in the nation, El Charro .  The host of Elysian Grove Market told us about it and said we’d better try it out!  So we drove off in the rain to enjoy a nice meal together.  I ordered the vegan enchiladas and the boys ordered heavier options.  It was our first time trying carne seca, too!  Very good :)  I also ordered a virgin margarita because I was the driver and figured I’d have more wine at home after Jack went to sleep, and of course Jack hit the glass while I was drinking and I spilled it all over me…HA!  Not as bad as the French fry incident haha!IMG_0915IMG_0924The next morning we packed up our belongings and headed over to Cup Cafe located in the historic Hotel Congress (notice a theme here?  Every place we went to and even where we stayed was historic…so perfect for me!).  We loved the penny decor on the tables out in the waiting room as well as the floor inside the cafe!  The breakfast was really nice, especially the cajon rendition of biscuits and gravy they had on the menu.  Once we filled our bellies, we paid our bill, jumped back into the car, bought the cheapest tank of gas I’ve ever filled up…okay, maybe in the last 10 years, and made our way out to New Mexico!IMG_0968IMG_0970IMG_0972IMG_0962IMG_0937Will be sharing our time in New Mexico next :) Hope everyone’s week has been good!

Our Weekend: Joshua Tree



This post is a little bit overdue.  But hey, it’s never too late to share, right?

This past Memorial Day Weekend, we piled up in the car and took a spontaneous drive out to Joshua Tree.  I had been wanting to check out what all the fuss was about for quite some time now, and since Joshua Tree is just under an hour away from home, I thought it would be the perfect little family getaway for the day.  We had no plan on where to go while we were there, but thought we could possibly grab a coffee, walk around (in the heat I might add) and maybe have a bite to eat then head home.

When we got into the town after just an hours worth of driving (and a sleeping Jack in the back woohoo!) we put the little guy in his stroller and strolled on over to Joshua Tree Coffee Coffee Company.  We almost didn’t see the place since it’s hidden behind a yoga studio in the cutest and quaintest little courtyard.  I went in since the shop only fits maybe three people at a time, plus Jack was waking up from his nap.  I grabbed a coffee for myself and a tea for Geoff and we enjoyed our beverages, Jack enjoyed a bottle, and we people watched for a little bit on the patio.  Once we were ready to start packing up and continue our little adventure, I noticed a woman who looked familiar to me.  I realized who she was, called out her name and she came over to us!  She was the head of the art department at CSUSB and we chatted for a few minutes, mostly about motherhood of course, and about her living in Joshua Tree, having her own art studio, and the best pizza place outside of NYC (she’s originally from there).  It was our lucky day because the best pizza place outside of NYC just so happened to be in the same courtyard we were in.

Having had breakfast not long before our drive, we weren’t feeling too hungry just yet, so we decided to take a family stroll around the town.  Although it was very hot, we kept cool by peaking into shops here and there.  The visitor center was a great place to take a break from the heat, as well as a fun thrift store where I chatted up the sales clerk about fashion of course.  It was starting to get a little later into the day, the sun was rising and feeling hotter and hotter by the minute, so we decided it was time to start heading home…but not until we got the best pizza outside of NYC :)  The boys waited for me in the air conditioned car while I went into Pie for the People.  I ordered a slice of cheese for me and a slice of pepperoni for Geoff.  None for Jack, but someday!  I must say, that pizza took me back to our trip to NYC this last March.  I would drive from Redlands to Joshua Tree just for that pizza.
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LA Weekend Getaway


Last weekend Geoff and I had our first over nighter away from Jack!  My mom and aunt watched him while Geoff and I drove out to LA to celebrate Valentine’s Day together.  Both of us were a little nervous about leaving him over night for the first time, but knew he would be in good hands.

Our first stop was at the Grove Marketplace for some window shopping and lunch.  We are suckers for anything Parisian or French, so naturally we ended up enjoying lunch at an outdoor restaurant nestled in the middle of the marketplace.  Mr. Marcel Pain Vin et Fromage had a lovely view of the marketplace, perfect for people watching and enjoying a nice cold glass of crisp Chardonnay.  We bought a doormat that reads “bonjour/au revoi” for our front door.


Before we left the marketplace, I had to make a stop, for the first time, to the American Girl Store.  I grew up loving Samantha Parkington, had the doll and all her accessories!  It was like walking down memory lane, telling Geoff about the doll’s stories.  Geoff actually really enjoyed all the little accessories the dolls had, and thought it was interesting that they also taught young girls history lessons.  His absolute favorite was the hair salon 😀


After geeking out at American Girl, we drove to our hotel in Korea Town.  The Line hotel was so much fun.  It was the perfect mix of modern meets industrial meets natural fibers and textures.  Very hipster.  The hotel features two delicious restaurants that Geoff and I ate at, Pot for dinner, and Commissary for breakfast.  I loved the fact that we didn’t have to leave our hotel for meals because we were really looking for a relaxing weekend.  Although Jack has been sleeping through the night most of the time since he was 6 weeks, not having to worry about waking up in case he needed us was a little luxury.  Eating, having a few drinks at the bar, playing ping pong on the rooftop poolside and calling it a night at 9pm was just what we needed!  And the view from our room was AMAZING!  Sometimes we take advantage of how often we see the Hollywood sign.

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Of course, we couldn’t stop thinking about our little man.  We caught ourselves straying from our current conversation to wondering what he was doing, looking forward to seeing him the next day.  Missing him made us realized just how much we love him.  It’s so important to reconnect with your first love.  Our over nighter to LA was the perfect little getaway for Geoff and I to feel like our old selves again, and realize that we were equally excited to be reunited with our son.  I know it’s so easy to fall into the every day to-dos and forget that bit of adventure you used to have with your spouse or significant other.  Geoff and I both crave travel and vacations.  It’s our love language.  So getting away, even just for the night, made a world of difference for our relationship.  Don’t forget each other.  Your relationship will be happy for it.