Family, Journey, Life, Love, Salvation Mountain, trips

Salvation Mountain

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We were headed south on a very much long overdue family trip. We try to visit our family in Mexicali at least 3x a year. We look up cool bucket list spots to make pit stops at on our way there. Last time we drove to Mexicali, we made a pit stop at the Cabazon Dinosaurs Museum. If we could enjoy two places in one long weekend getaway, why not?! This time, I brought up the idea of stopping off at Salvation Mountain. Leave it to me to drive us somewhere “interesting”.

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“I have a feeling we’re not in LA anymore”, was the first thought that came to mind as we drove into the small town of Niland, CA. I had only see this place in pictures and it had blown me away! However, as we entered the small town, we still drove about 2 miles before actually getting to our destination. There were trailers to my left and God loving signs to my right. Now, i’d like to say that it was everything I imagined it to be, but it wasn’t. The vibe in particular. Instead, it was a bit creepy at first. I think the rest of my clan can attest to that. Any-who, there were two locals and their dogs were hanging out in a booth at the bottom of the mountain.  And anytime someone would step somewhere not allowed, you can hear the lady  shout; “follow the yellow paint! Don’t climb that way! Get down from there! Wrong way!”. Yikes!

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That didn’t stop the kids from immediately making their way to the top of the mountain. The rest of us followed while my mom trailed behind huffing and puffing. She kept saying “this is why I need to exercise more often”, as if she exercises to begin with– ha ha! Love my mama!  We continued to explore the rest of the mountain and really began to enjoy the art and creativity that surrounded the mountain. If you don’t know the story, click the link above and read it. It’s amazing what one man did to share his love of God.

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Although this place was not quite all that I imagined it to be, I’m glad we went.  It’s a good place to stop off for a quick stretch if you’re headed in that direction.  Especially if you’re traveling with kids. I also suggest that you come during the day. It’s a bit tricky to get to, and I’m not sure I’d like to get stranded or lost in Niland. Needless to say, we stayed for about 30 minutes before we were on our merry way. But not before snapping tons of pictures!

Cheers!

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Disclaimer: This is not a preachy post. I’m not trying to impose my beliefs on anyone. Just sharing a cool spot and our experience.

 

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Back to School for the Mamas

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The story goes a little something like this: 31 weeks ago my girl @jboogiemontano tagged me in a giveaway that @pasadenacharm was hosting. @pasadenacharm is the cutest IG account that pretty much exposes the world to the “Creme de la Creme of Pasadena, CA”. In other words, all the cool sh*t we might not know about Pasadena. Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, so @pasadenacharm was collaborating on some cool things with Lula Mae–a cute tiny shop in non other than *drumroll please* Pasadena! And although it was my gal that followed @pasadenacharm it was I who won the contest! I was most excited to meet the gal behind @pasadenacharm. We might have exchanged a few words but Taryn swept me off my feet. One of the sweetest most genuine person ever. Taryn said that she had read my blog and was inspired by my story! What?!? I haven’t seen her since, but I’m one loyal follower and try to support her mission even if it’s just by tapping twice. You know what i mean?

The story continues on like this: Taryn then tags me in a @heymamaco post, introducing me to a community of amazing talented mamas doing amazing things. And this is how @hanahsaurus aka @magicmamascents and I stumbled upon each other. I missed the opportunity to meet her a couple months ago when Taryn invited me to a local Madewell event they were having. But I made sure to keep my ears and eyes open for any upcoming events. I should say that I had no idea that @hanahsaurus and @magicmamascents were the same person. It wasn’t until I saw the post from both @pasadenacharm and @hanahsaurus inviting mamas to Lou & Grey in Pasadena for a “Back to School for the Mamas Local Artisan Market” that I realized Hanah was the gal behind @magicmamascents. I knew immediately that I wanted to stop by and meet Hanah but also say “hello” to Taryn.

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Long story short. I was on a date with my youngest Gael, who by the way behaved extraordinarily well. I wish I could say it was due to my parenting but I give credit where credit is deserved. Thank you Yogurt land! We walked in and I immediately spotted Hanah. I think i might have even rudely interrupted the conversation she was having with a client. Oops! So guys, let me tell you that this was my first time buying essential oils. I hear about them all the time and how wonderful they are but never really paid much attention. Hanah explained all the benefits of her oils and how she uses them. I fell in love with and walked away with the Sleepy Moon Spray and a beautiful gifted sage– homegirl discount. And oh my word! Not only does it smell amazing but it also helps calm my crazy ass nerves.

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@magicmamascents was not the only one reppin’ at this cute local pop-up. Some other local favorites present were @popupgreens with her super cute hand painted pots & potted plants. @goldpresspaper with her perfectly craved lettering and custom made cards. And lastly, there was @sweetclems, an “entrepreneur trying to bring a smile to your face one popsicle at a time”. All in all, it was a Saturday afternoon well spent! A special shout out to my girl @jboogiemontano for entering us in any and all giveaways possible. This would’ve never happened without you. xx

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Cheers!

*No compensation was received for this post. Just sharing a cool event I attended over the weekend.

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Get up, get out, & live

IMG_2342 Weekends are for cleaning, doing laundry, and then cleaning some more, right? For the past 15 years of my life, I’ve fallen into this routine-like life and there is no one else to blame but me. In a perfect world my house would be clean and organized every single day of the week. I’ve always thought of an unorganized house as a poor reflection of me as a wife and mother. So, unless we have major plans, weekends are for picking up after the tornado that hit our home. But with staying indoors came waking up really late (10-11:00am) and feeling sluggish. By this time, the rest of the world was either having their third cup of coffee or thinking about lunch! .

Well, this past week I decided to put an end to that routine. My alarm sounded off at 6am Saturday morning. Not quite sure why it went off since I have it set weekdays only. Well, that’s besides the point. I really think the universe was trying to tell me something.  The first thought that came to my mind was a list of things that needed to get done. And immediately after that I thought to myself, “is this really how things are going to be until the end of times?”. And it was at that very moment that I decided that I would get up, lace up my running shoes and go for an early morning beach run. I messaged my sister and being the trooper that she is, she agreed to come along. By 7:30am, we were on the road. What would normally be a 45 minute drive to Santa Monica, ended up being a 20 minute drive. There was also plenty of street parking to choose from. It was perfect!

I had a 4 mile run scheduled that day, so I figured why not run from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice. It was way more than a 4 mile stretch but it was worth it. The smell of fresh air, the white fluffy clouds, the waves crashing, and the beautiful rays of sunlight all dancing together. After the run, I took my shoes off and made my way to the water and allowed the sand to gently massage my feet. I stood in awe, admiring the peaceful and serene view of the sea stretching out farther than the human eye can see.

I will no longer allow myself to drown in a mountain full of house chores. Because let’s face it, with three kids at home, I’ll never see the end of it. Three kids that are sort of falling into this “we don’t want to do anything but be on our phones” type of deal. Again, I take full accountability for that as well. I realize it will take some time but soon enough the kids will be the early birds leading the way.

As women and mothers, we are constantly taking care of those around us. Some people call it being selfish, I call it taking care of myself. That being said,  I no longer want to miss out on moments like these. I can no longer let this world continue to pass US by. There’s things to do, places to see, and people to meet! We’ve got to get up, get out, and live!

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Run, G, Run…

You’ve heard me say plenty that MUSIC is my boyfriend. RUNNING is a one night stand that you never admit to having (at least not out loud)  because it makes you sick to your stomach to even think about it. Ha ha! However, these two combined are a perfect match.

Growing up I was a tomboy. I played outside and got down and dirty. My parents both worked to make ends meet, so asking them to enroll me in an extra-curricular activity, was completely out of the question. In middle school I fell in love with the game of basketball. It didn’t take much to convince my parents to let me take part of the Belvedere Junior High basketball team. Not only was it free of cost, it was my afterschool babysitter. Basketball would give me something to do while I waited for my parents to pick me up at 5:00pm. It worked out for all parties involved.

I continued to play all throughout my middle and high school years. I was the starting point guard my freshman year at Wilson High School in Los Angeles. Basketball was my everything–until conditioning came around. Conditioning was basically HELL on Earth. During about a 6-week period of time, we weren’t allowed to touch a basketball. What?! It was all about getting in shape for the season. It was all about running, drill without balls, stairs, drill without balls, mile stairs, and more drills without being able to touch a ball! Absurd if you ask me. More than running, I absolutely hated the fact that my coach expected me to lead the mile run by far because I was the point guard. He never quite understood why the center would finish her mile run before me. Frankly, I could’ve cared less. I would never run out of gas on the court, but put me out in a track and this little engine no longer could. My basketball days came to an end my senior year when I tore my ACL but not before winning a ring.

I retired myself into a couple of Women’s Leagues, then I learned to officiate, did that for a couple years, and then nothing. Eventually I would miss being active. I bought a gym membership and fell in love with spinning, but once our first home went into escrow, that meant the gym membership would have to be cancelled–amongst other things. Since the purchase of our first home, I’ve endured two foot surgeries. Recovery time? About three years. So it’s been about two years that I’ve tried to genuinely fall in love with running. And man, have failed time and time again. I wouldn’t even go out looking for excuses, the excuses would come to me. Ha ha!

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Meet the friend (Susana) of a friend (Jennifer) that introduced me to BlackList LA. Right to left: Jennifer, Susana, myself

I started out with a 14 minute mile–yikes! I wanted to see immediate improvements, even if I only ran 3x a month. I mean right? That in itself was a reason to quit. It’s been two months since I decided that I would make running my bitc*! Yes, I said it. This time, I started with a 12 minute mile. Dragging myself out to run was a drag in itself. While running all I could think of was how much I hated life at that very moment. But it was at the end of the run where I felt an all time natural high. There’s no better feeling like the one of a clear mind, body, and soul. I felt the toxins leaving my body with every bit of sweat rolling down my face. It felt good, really good. I slowly became addicted to this feeling. It became an everyday evening ritual with me and the kids. The kids would get their skateboarding/ jungle gym time on,  while mom got her run on. It was perfect.

Since then, I’ve met a lot of other folks that have an affinity for running. A dear friend of mine introduced me to one of her friend’s who at the first mention of the word “run”, immediately introduced me to BlackList LA. I joined this avid running group for the very first time last Monday. It was the most fun I’ve had since taking on running. BlackList LA takes place on Monday nights at 10pm in different locations in Los Angeles. Sure it’s on Monday nights and there’s work the next day but it’s well worth it. Check them out @BlackListLA on twitter or Instagram.

I’m now at a 9:07 minute mile. Not too bad after three pregnancies, one knee surgery, two foot surgeries, thirty-two years of life, and two months of training. Yes, that was me shamelessly tooting my own horn. Someone has got to do it! Still, I can’t really say that I absolutely love running, but I can say that running has become my happy place. I still have deadly thoughts at the beginning, halfway through, and at the very end of the run, but the end results are euphoric. I’ve stopped running to beat my time and started running to relax my mind, body, and soul. I run to shake off any negative vibes that I might have attracted during the day. I run to release any anger, sadness, or frustration that I might be holding on to. I run to maintain this temple we call body healthy. I run to stay healthy for my children, grandchildren, and If I’m lucky my great-grandchildren. I run to take care of myself and my well-being. Because without that, I cannot take care of all those who need me.

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BlackList LA folks getting ready to take DTLA for a run!

p.s. I use the Nike+Running app on my iPhone. All other apps I’ve tried to use are way too complicated. This Nike app keeps it simple and to the point. I highly recommend it! Oh, and soon I’ll be running my very first 5k…baby steps!

p.s.s. I’ve never had a one night stand. It was simply to humor you all!

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Playing Ketch-Up

So much has gone on since my last post. Let’s see, I finally received my baccalaureate degree (!), I left my old job of 9 (almost 10) years, started a career in higher education, reduced my circle of friends–not sure how i feel about this quite yet (or why I’m even mentioning it), took on running, and celebrated birthdays galore over the summer break. Much to your dismay, I won’t be touching base on any of the aforementioned happenings quite yet. The next couple of segments might be written out of order: Almodovar style. If you’re familiar with Pedro Almodovar, you know what I’m talking about.

I’ll start with the present and work my way backwards. Summer break is now over and the kids are back in school. Miles started 8th grade, Zoe started middle school (6th grade), and Gael is now in 1st grade. Of course I was a wreck just thinking about how my baby would be left behind all alone to fend for himself. How will he survive elementary school?! Of course Miles put things into perspective one day while I was having a meltdown. He looked at  me and said “I didn’t have an older sibling to watch over me and I survived”. It’s true– Miles you’re a trooper! In the midst of this intense hormonal imbalance meltdown, Gael was nothing but excited to be walking to class on his own like the “big kid” that he is. Last Friday his teacher pulled us aside to let us know how sweet, kind, and how much more advanced Gael is than most the rest of his classmates. I think he’s managing 1st grade quite well on his own. You guys, this is a total humble brag. I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. Sometimes as a parent, I’m not quite sure that I’m doing things “right”. But it’s times like these that I’m reminded that we most definitely have done something right. Whew!

I tackled one worry only to have another one present itself. Baby girl was starting middle school. And although she wouldn’t be doing middle school entirely alone, she would still be doing middle school entirely alone. The kids don’t attend their home school, therefore, they both seem to have started all over again. Socially that is. I moved around during the transition between middle school and high school, and I hated every second of it. I remember missing my friends immensely, having trouble acclimating and making new friends. And that’s that I am pretty social. Zoe is a lot more reserved and most definitely an introvert. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I worried that she would have to eat lunch by herself in a lonely restroom stall or something. Is that crazy? I did that and it was awful! Of course I’m just traumatized and haunted by my past and always think that the story will somehow repeat itself, and that petrifies me! Well, fast forward and two weeks in and Zoe suddenly bursts out into tears and begins to sob uncontrollably. Miles walks in, pulls me to the side and whispers in my ear “she’s got the 6th grade blues”.  He described it as “missing old friends and feeling overwhelmed with all the new academic responsibilities that comes with being in middle school. Well, sure enough– that’s exactly what Zoe said it was. Not once did she use the phrase “6th grade blues”. When did Miles become the wise know all about/ have all the answers to life’s questions dude? I asked if he cried during the transition and he of course said “NO”. Zoe is now trekking along this third week and doing outstanding. She’s so naturally independent and responsible. It’s really not fair how easy she makes motherhood for me sometimes.

Last but not least, there’s Miles. He seems to have mastered everything but the balance between academics and a social life. We hit a tremendously bumpy road with him these past two years, but I am certain that this year is a pivotal year for him. And I’ve got to say that Zoe is going to make all the difference. Miles is competitive and there s no way that he’ll let his sister “outshine” him.

All in all, i feel it in my heart of hearts that this will be an amazing year for all three kids. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am already having meltdowns and disagreements with my better half about where we will be sending Miles to high school NEXT YEAR. Ha ha!

Kudos to all you out there holding down this fort we all call parenthood. I hope you and your kids have an amazing 2015-16 school year!

Cheers!

p.s. please tell my I’m not the only mom that has crazy meltdowns about pretty much anything that has to do with her kids.

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August 17, 2015

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