Oribe

One thing I can’t stand about coloring my hair blonde is how damaged it gets. I’ve tried Aveda primarily for damage control but recently was turned onto Oribe by my hairdresser. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH. Oh my god I love their damage control line and it smells so good I want to eat my hair. No seriously, it smells so fabulous. It’s called the “Gold Lust and Repair” line.

My hair also thanks me, it’s not as damaged and dead.

So I encourage you to try it too for all you fake blondes out there.

Dillon Beach, California

Dillon Beach, California was a beautiful and romantic get-away for my boyfriend, dog, and I.  We arrived at Lawson’s Landing late at night through heavy fog on a Friday night.  We quickly set up camp despite the freezing cold temperature – and got right into our sleeping bags.  I bought my dog a special camping bed – temperpedic to boot – but due to the cold night, my 90-pound black lab/pit-bull was cuddled in between the two of us shivering until we let him under the covers.

Saturday, we woke up early as the sun woke up around 6am.  We had the entire day ahead of us and I only had plans to that would occupy our morning.  We set up our campsite “kitchen” and had a bowl of cereal… we then walked Biggie Smalls up and down the road to scope out the campsite area.  We picked up some fire wood and attempted to build a fire but failed – we needed lighter fluid and brush.  Notated, what we needed to build a successful fire, we decided we would pick up those items after lunch.  Danny made sandwiches and we packed them in a day bag.

We drove south down the coast towards Pointe Reyes Station on highway 1.  We stopped at Hog Island Oyster Company to pick up a dozen of my most favorite oysters.  I am an oyster queen – I could eat them all day and absolutely love those things!  Danny…not so much a fan.  We bought a bottle of their Hog Island Oyster white wine which they said paired great with the oysters.

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On our drive, back, we stopped by some large boulder rock formations on our way into the town of Tamales.  There we could see out over the coast and the landscapes were that very like Ireland.  We stopped there for lunch and let Biggie run around for a while.

By the time we got back to the campsite it was just a little before noon.  We decided to hit the bait shop by the campgrounds for lighter fluid, snacks, smore’s goodies, and hoodies (because it was super cold).  We walked with Biggie by the bay, and hung out on the beach for a few hours tossing his toy around and just chilling, taking in the breathtaking scenery.

I couldn’t get over how much this area of California reminds me of Ireland. Although I went there when I was a little girl – those memories are still as vivid as ever.

A few hours before the sun went down we went back to camp.  We turned on some country music and began BBQ’ing our oysters.  This was such a delight for me – I loveeeee oysters!  The wine was outa this world good and perfect complement to the oysters.  We enjoyed them with a kale salad.  We made a large fire and began to cook ourselves some smore’s.  The evening wound down and to my surprise I was tired so I went to bed right as the sun set, knowing that the following day I had planned another adventure in Point Reyes for us…

Easter Sunday, we woke up again as the sun rose… this time, rain came along as well.  We hustled to pack up our campsite and get Biggie in the car before he was drenched.  He still smelled like a wet dog but it was tolerable.  We drove down south from Dillon Beach and into Point Reyes Station.  It was a downfall of rain at this point in the morning so we were relieved to find the brunch spot I choose wasn’t too packed for Easter Sunday.  The Station House Café had wonderful reviews on Yelp, and the food looked delicious.  I was eager to bring my boyfriend there as he is a huge brunch guy. They had a special menu for Easter Sunday – from which I ordered Dungeness crab on avocado toast, and my boyfriend had the Croque Madame.  Both dishes were out of this world.  We took home a bag of their housemade granola and enjoyed a few mimosas.  After brunch we walked down to the Cowgirl Creamery.  The girl who helped us provided excellent service and gave us a tasting of 8 different cheeses.  We walked out with the Bay Blue Cheese, and Red Hawk both for our moms.

The ending to our Point Reyes Station day was heading to the Heidrun Meadry where we learned about sparkling wine (champagne) that is derived from honey instead of grapes.  These were absolutely the sweetest sparkling wines I have ever sipped.  You can notice the hints of the various aromas that the honey is derived from, and almost a sweet fruit flavor to each tasting.   We took home a rosemary plant from the meadery to add to our herb garden back home, and got back on the road for the two hour journey south.

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Puerto Vallarta

Early last month I had the lovely opportunity to travel down below the border to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The excursion was a destination party spot for a bachelorette party of 9 girls.  The beaches were warm, the sand was soft, and the people were incredibly friendly.

We spent our first day laying under a cabana on the beach; catching up, getting to know one another better, and to most of our surprises getting burnt like lobsters. Despite the layers of sunblock and direct avoidance of the sun, we all walked away with bad burns ranging from just a touch of pink to borderline first degree burns.

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The first evening brought out a lovely rooftop dinner with the most spectacular views over the city. Rolling hills with buildings amidst a sea of flourishing lush greenery. We could hear the most magnificent evening church bells just as the sun set over the city.IMG_7401

The restaurant, Hacienda San Angel, was the home to one of Elizabeth Taylor’s former husbands; the most romantic Spanish style pueblo, with a full open courtyard in the center of the mansion. It was later bought by a San Francisco woman who then turned it into a pet-friendly hotel.

For dinner, I had a stuffed Chile poblano with saffron rice. The rice was so decadent it almost melted in my mouth. This was an incredible find and quite a beautiful experience.

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Our second day in Puerto was our primary adventure day. We woke up to a beautiful sunrise/gorgeous day and headed off to the marina. We went boating throughout the Banderas Bay and saw beautiful beach destinations on the coast. We jumped off the boat to go snorkeling by a cove; then docked at Yelapa beach, a fun and interesting little village where we rode horses (more like donkeys) up to a waterfall. Our group was having wild fun, taking shots at every turn – even while on the horses at bars we could ride up to.

The waterfall lagoon was gorgeous and peaceful, just at the edge of the village where you could see aspects of the rain-forest trickling in on either side of the rock formations. We followed the trail back down through the village and out to the beach for lunch.

IMG_7407Some of us paddle boarded in the cove and others hung back to drink. Paddle boarding against ocean waves on both feet is no easy task. The waves were crashing in hard, and the sky was getting cloudy, so at that point, the group gathered up and we got back into the boat. The boat ride home consisted of continuing to party and dance while taking tequila shots.

The third day was spent on a larger boat, equipped with an open bar and two water slides. This time we were whale watching, dolphin watching, and stopped at a small island to bird watch. We spent most the day on the boat drinking and dancing and enjoying the sun.  Later on we were highly entertained by watching one another drop off the water slides into the water from this two-story boat. After a day of boat tripping, some of us wound down for the night to the resort, while others went out on the town to hunt for street tacos.

Our final day and departing day happened to also be my birthday. A good friend of mine and I went to the resort spa, pampered ourselves to get our nails done and then headed back to California. The sunny and adventurous destination of Puerto Vallarta is gorgeous. I would like to go back and explore again, and check out a few recommended locations:

 

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Personal Ultimate

I started to get myself back on the health kick train this year… It’s been some time since I’ve been comfortable in my skin, loving my body completely – so I felt it was time for a change – and to document this change. This won’t be some basic health/fitness evolution where I show you how my body is just changing, but I will also do my best to describe how my mindset evolves with it.
That is half the battle of changing your lifestyle – to change your train of thought. No matter how hard we try and hope that, maybe tomorrow I’ll be ready for this, it’s a gradual and uphill process. I’ve been one that’s really set some obstacles in the way of my own process of transformation – caving into eating out with friends too often, enjoying wine too often or enjoying the casual slice of cake at work for someone’s birthday. It’s hard, because I want to find my balance where I’m enjoying life still in these moments, but also, that I have the body I’m comfortable in once again.

I’m currently at a weight twenty pounds over my usual heaviest version of myself. That rings in at a total forty pounds over my normal weight. I’m not climbing Mount Everest here but it sure sometimes seems like it because of the bad habits I’ve developed in the past year-year and a half. My main objective is to replace those bad habits with better habits, but first I have to change my thinking in order to change behavior. I must accept the body I’m in and still love myself with all my extra pounds.

My ultimate goal with mindset and behavior change, would then to fully incorporate a new and improved lifestyle – one which embodies healthy living. To me this means, enjoying each moment with confidence and without guilt.

So here I am, without any guilt, my “before” photos.  Weight: 188lbs. Forty pounds over my normal weight.

Work is success, success is work

I recently read the Man Repeller’s article, Round Table: How do you define success and wanted to chime in on the conversation about how one define’s success.

It seemed in my early twenties that around almost every corner, people I knew grappled with their own variations in concepts of what defines their work and success. Obviously, from industry to industry, the form of success looks vastly different.  In some industries you will not be successful if you do not catch on at lightening rapid speed, and some, you can be successful by doing literally mindless work.

In my early twenties, I had no idea what I wanted to do, what industry I wanted to be in, etc.  It made meeting any expectations or demands in the workplace something quite challenging, actually.  I was reluctant about following my Dad’s footsteps into the law, simply because I was following in his footsteps, and I could not define my own idea of success.  I looked to a lot of other people.  My brother, my uncle, my peers… what do they do that makes them successful? Is that a concept I should adopt?

Alas I have carved out a solid idea on my own, which I’m happy to share now… since I still live so close to home, spending time with my family and childhood friends is a big priority for me.  They know me the best, they’ve seen the obstacles I faced, and the challenges I went through… they never doubted me.  My profession.  When I accepted that I want nothing more than to be in a position where I am an asset to my community and family, in a way that serves and preserves an individual’s integrity, I knew the law was the only path for me.

My greatest dreams are that one day I have the luxury to travel and spend time with loved ones near and far.  Own a vacation home in a wonderful location, where the sole purpose of owning it is purely to bring people together to celebrate. As for my most ambitious hobby, I am hopeful to be able to have a home with a few horses.

 

Art of Travel

I recently spent a few days in New Orleans, Louisiana.  We stumbled upon this city in celebration of a bachelorette party for a girlfriend of mine.  We were all attracted to the history, culture, architecture and of course, the food for this particular excursion.

We used Air B&B for our accommodations and totally lucked out.  Late Thursday evening we were greeted by our host with a tour of the property, detailed with personal haunting experiences and lifestyle/history of the estate’s original owners.  He assured us the hauntings were “party spirits” only looking for a good time like most folks that come to New Orleans… intended to help us sleep assured?

The estate was four stories high, now broken down into what seemed like 5 apartments or “air b&b’d” space, as well as stables and the old “slave quarters”.  The original owners of the home had wealth up to their noses, the door frames of every entry way are 9feet+ high, marble fireplaces reaching over 5feet tall, extravagant chandelier fixtures, and elegant wrap around staircases.  The original taste behind the architecture in New Orleans demonstrates fine Parisian taste which made me wish I could go back in time to experience the era at it’s peak.

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The front of the estate, currently.

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Courtyard leading into the back part of the estate.

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The pool and backend of the estate. 

We spent the first full day in the bayou and exploring a small plantation that over-looked the Mississippi River.  The bayou tour included sightings of alligators and other native swamp wild life.  The plantation visit included a narrative of the lives of the individuals who once inhabited it, as well as, a glimpse into the affluent culture that dominated that time.

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The Bayou ❤

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Little gators!

Our guide brought us in out, around the curves of the bayou, detailing, of course, some more history of the generations that lived in the swam land during the early 1900’s.  I ate up every piece of history like it was eternal truth, however, I’m critical to the specifics of the stories. Throughout the duration of our journey our guide insisted on the “sweet nature” of gators.  So much so, that we were all able to pass around and hold his “second daughter” Allie.

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The sweet little Allie.

The plantation visit included a narrative of the lives of the individuals who once inhabited it, as well as, a glimpse into the affluent culture that dominated the region of that time.

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The Plantation

So Saturday we ate and wandered our way through the French Quarter; in and out of shops, taking a few snapshots of our fun and the delicious cajun and southern comfort food items:

Felt fabulous in Vintage Fur Coats from the 40’s/50’s…

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Glam crew

We masqueraded in fun and had our palms read in front of the St. Louis Cathedral by a woman named Fox with blue lips.  She described our individual personalities in detail, and told us how we would all live long, be able to have many babies, and make millions over our lifetimes.

We paid a special visit to Queen Marie Laveau’s original home on Bourbon street to learn more about Voodoo and found a few more small museums in the French Quarter to soak up any further history.  New Orleans treated us well in food and character, and I’ll always have a big warm place for that city in my heart.

I’m currently still enjoying the art of this travel by daydreaming about the bayou and French influence with two new novels (Voodoo in New Orleans and A guide to the Historic French Quarter).

I found a few lovely historic hotels in the French Quarter that I would love to travel back just to stay at in New Orleans:
Le Pavillon
Bourbon Orleans Hotel
Four Points
Hotel St. Maire

Family Matters

Over the twenty five years of my life there is one thing I have been able to consistently depend on; and that is that step by step, no matter what, my siblings and my cousins have been there.  I believe that the best part of life is the consistency in which one receives love and admiration from those closest to them… that your life, as cliche as this sounds, can bring inspiration and happiness to those around you, and you witness this unfold.

The bunch of weirdos I call my best friends and family – do just that.

My big brother and cousins <3

My big brother and cousins ❤

Time flies, and we’re all growing up in our own directions and manage to spend a great deal of time with one another.  And I mean some quality time – we chill together, travel together, work together, go to music festivals,  snowboard/cycle together, drink together, and most importantly we all share common goals and dreams together.

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My little sister, big bro bro, & I in Hong Kong; Russian vodka bar…mmm

 

I kill it with these kids around me (which I’m sure we will always act like a bunch of kids when we get together) – & they are my team. I attribute aspects of my whimsical and carefree personality are largely shaped by the influence from my family.

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My cousin Hannah – mini me #majorweirdo

 

I know life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff, laugh at everything, make it all matter, and be kind… I def wouldn’t be the thoughtful and kind person I am today without these many kids to grow up with and figure out how to be that way.  They keep me grounded, push me, and support me,

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Cassie… the one I can tell everything to.

 

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Connor and I at Outside Lands 2014 – we go on some wild adventures ❤

 

And after this holiday season I reflected how rich I really am – love.

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Lovely sisters loving cousins

 

With this blog I just write to thank my greatest sources of inspiration, admiration, and drive – the lovely Bray/Mazolewski bunch.

“Nice is Just a Place in France”

While taking a few sick days with my good ol pal, Biggie Smalls (literally, my black lab/pit bull’s name is Biggie Smalls) I read a book I stumbled across surfing some fashion sites.  “Nice is Just a Place in France”, written by The Beetches, from ShopBeetches.com offered a quick and easy read that was seriously one of the most enjoyable I’ve come across in a while.  These pages are filled with so much hilarious satire, even if you don’t agree with the lifestyle you will probably be caught wanting to keep turning the pages.

The lifestyle these Beetches describe are the inner workings of incredibly ridiculous girls.   My favorite section, Vacations and Summers: It’s a Hard-Knock Life – “when a girl accumulates too many hangover regrets to cope with and finds herself overwhelmed, this is the perfect excuse for a vacation, to relax, and clear out their heads.”  Touché – the struggle is real – ergo, my most recent vacation/adventure I utilized in order to “clear my mind”.

The book goes on and describes many subtle quirks of all us ridiculous 90’s gals out there that have awesome times, drinking awesome shooters, and just soak up each other’s awesome-ness.  The authors illuminate this state of mind with such hilarious fine point detail and I found myself identifying with 98% of the mad shit they go through as exactly similar things I’ve pulled in my lifetime, I could have been there writing this with them.

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