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adventure, oaklandish

The Sunday Wind Up

October 22, 2017

Only commuters will understand how important it is to properly do the Sunday Wind Up, especially after what I’d consider to be the perfect weekend. I slept in, got acupuncture, drank a bloody mary, shopped from a perfectly curated local sale, walked the dogs, went to the mall, went to the oldest boy’s hockey game, subscribed to the New York Times (finally!) and went on a glut of reading every Modern Love article I could get my eyes on. I also took a late-afternoon Sunday nap.

It was perfect.

Now, I find myself doing the Sunday Wind Up. I’m staring down at three hours on the road nearly every day this week save the one night I might spend at my sister’s sleeping on a futon. It’s impossibly far and I’m at my breaking point with it.

It seems impossible, so I’m trying my best to make it feel possible.

I can do it! I ask myself what do I have to look forward to this week to get me through? I learned today that there’s a Modern Love podcast, so I’ll definitely listen to that on my drive. I bought some frozen hash browns that are damn delicious, so I’ll heat those up in the mornings. I have a training during the week, maybe that will be worthwhile.

If nothing else, it’s just twelve hours of driving, 648 miles of torture until I get to work from home on Friday and then begin a new perfect weekend again.

That reminds me, what should I do next weekend?

adventure, california, deep thoughts, oaklandish


May 8, 2017

oakland hills boomer

We up and moved. Hightailed it out of Modesto and followed our dreams. We live in Oakland now and we’re over-the-moon excited about the new life we’re building together. We can see the future and it looks so bright. We make big sacrifices for this new life every single day. I drive three hours round trip every day to get to work, Keith drives two hours, we work different schedules so we only see each other on the weekend, we pay an exorbitant amount of rent each month, we no longer have a yard so we walk rounds and rounds in the neighborhood so the pups can do their business.

Even still. Even still, we’re so much happier than we were in our old lives in Modesto.

I wish I could go back five years and shake myself so hard, reprimand myself for hiding in fear of trying something new. I wish I could go back and force myself to listen to my gut that was leading me here. I wouldn’t have lost so much time. I know the years I spent in Modesto taught me many things, but god I wish I could get that time back. Seven whole years of psyching myself up every day to be happy. I get a pit in my stomach when I go back to that place, so I’m not going to go there right now and upset myself again.

I try not to be preachy in this space, but please, please learn from my mistake and the years I squandered talking myself into something that I knew beyond a shadow of doubt wasn’t right for me. Life is so, so short. Your gut talks to you for a specific reason. Please listen.  You’re the only person who knows what’s right for you and you’re the only one who can make it happen for yourself. When you read these words, your gut is probably talking to you and whispering a reminder of what your own heart wants. Follow it. Make it happen. It’s the most beautiful thing to feel your own soul in alignment. It’s priceless and worth every sacrifice.

Now that we’re here, my heart is reminding me of this space and the dreams I have to pursue my writing and a creative life. So, I’m listening and showing up.

Here I am. Let’s make it happen.


30 in 30

February 21, 2016


Have you heard of this trend of doing a ’30 in 30′? If not, it’s basically a pact you make with yourself to do 30 fun things to commemorate your thirtieth year. Pretty obvious, right? I know enough about myself to know that I’m not the best at following through on challenges like that, especially with such a short timeline, but I decided to make a list anyway just for kicks. I figure, even if I don’t do any of it, the exercise itself is fun enough, right?

  1. Go camping in Big Sur
  2. Figure out how to do a capsule wardrobe
  3. Follow through on therapy and my commitment to Intuitive Eating
  4. Attend my niece’s graduation
  5. Go camping in Tahoe
  6. Go to Vegas, baby!
  7.  Accumulate no new debt
  8. Attend my favorite hip-hop dance class on a somewhat regular basis
  9. Set up a creatively inspiring office environment
  10. Read thirty books
  11. Go to Cabo
  12. Reconnect with one old friend
  13. Surprise my mom
  14. Get another tattoo
  15. Make a new friend
  16. Go on an epic thrifting adventure
  17. Host at least one bad ass summer barbeque
  18. Learn how to roller blade
  19. Find my perfect shade of lipstick for day
  20. Build a wall of plants in my living room
  21. Call my best friend at least once a week
  22. Get promoted
  23. Get a proper massage
  24. Take my dog to the beach
  25. Spend a day on a boat
  26. Make a homemade German chocolate cake
  27. Go to a hip-hop concert
  28. Write a letter
  29. Teach my dog how to roll over
  30. Go somewhere fun with my sister

Did I miss something fun? If you did this, what would be your must-have on your list?

adventure, travel, Uncategorized

2016: the year of camping

November 30, 2015

camping intro

Ever since we decided to stay put here in Modesto instead of moving to Oakland next year, my mind has been simmering with ways for us to make the most of where we live. Residents of Modesto often joke that our town is ‘two hours from everywhere’ in California, so one of my only resolutions going into 2016 is to take advantage of our Central California location for some weekend adventuring.

Now, I’m not necessarily the type of person you’d peg as a camper at first blush. I like my creature comforts, but I’m invested in devising a system that brings the convenience of home (air mattress, hot plate, restrooms, pop up tents) to the beautiful, healing outdoors. I think I need to disconnect way more often than I do.

Here’s a list of all of the places I’m dreaming of visiting on our impending camping adventures. Some are just a couple of hours away while others are more of a hike that we could fold into a visit to see my family in Arizona.

big sur

Big Sur – I fell in love with Big Sur on a day-long drive down the Pacific Coastal Highway last year. The views are breathtaking and there is camping right in the Redwoods. Swoon.

lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe – I’ve been to Lake Tahoe numerous times and I just love, love, love it. The hotels are pretty expensive unless you stay at the casinos, so I’d like to experience camping right on the lake.


Pinecrest – A little bit closer to home, Pinecrest is an awesome spot nestled in the Sierra Mountains. I wrote about a day trip we took with the boys there a couple of years ago, but I’d like to stay the night one weekend and enjoy a few brewskies in the fresh mountain air.

stinson beach

Stinson Beach – I did a couple of photo shoots on Stinson beach at my previous job and I fell in love with this awesome little beach town. This amazing campsite seems almost impossible to get into, but I want to stay there so badly. Another plus: we could pick up the kids on our way through the bay area to get to Stinson and hit up Muir Woods for a hike one morning.

pismo beach

Pismo Beach – I’ve never been to Pismo, but I’ve heard only good things from friends. When people think of California, I think they picture Pismo Beach, so why not spend a weekend at the quintessential California beach town from the comfort of your tent?


Yosemite National Park – I mean, how could I mention camping in California without mentioning one of the most famous landmarks in the entire state? Camping, here we come

knights ferry

Knight’s Ferry – About an hour from home, I envision Knight’s Ferry being one of our go-to camping spots. Easy, peasy.

grand canyon

Grand Canyon – Yes, I love this famous landmark in my home state. Who wouldn’t want to camp next to this world wonder?

oak creek canyon

Oak Creek Canyon – Just a short drive from my hometown, Oak Creek Canyon is just breathtaking. I’d love to drink my morning coffee in this beauty.

Sedona – Last but most certainly not least, my favorite place in the entire world, my happy place, Sedona, Arizona. Since I can drive there in fifteen minutes from my mom’s house, I’ve never thought about camping there. But, seriously, why not? Did I mention it’s my happy place??

What do you think? Are you a camper? Or, would you rather just pay for a hotel and call it a day? I’ve always been more the hotel-type, but my insistence on paying for expensive hotels makes it a bit difficult for us to do quick weekend getaways.

Image sources: Intro, Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, Pinecrest (my own), Stinson Beach, Pismo Beach, Yosemite National Park, Knight’s Ferry, Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona


Take me away

July 19, 2015


The most common question I would get from people when I told them I lived in Africa was always ‘what’s the wildlife like there?’ Unfortunately, I couldn’t amaze them with tales of lions and giraffes and safaris because I was living in The Gambia, in West Africa. Not all of Africa is a a safari. In fact, safari-esque wildlife is really best in the Southern and Eastern regions of the continent.

At best, I could tell them stories of monkeys and angry hippos. It was something, but it was disappointing for sure.

When I saw Miss Moss’ post about her African road trip, I caught my breath. To say her photos were beautiful is the understatement of the year. Her post inspired me with a healthy dose of wanderlust and a pretty severe twinge of nostalgia. Even days later, I can’t stop thinking about it. Her Africa experience was certainly different than my own, but a deep enchantment ran through both journeys. I am grateful for my time living in Africa. I miss it and the fearless person I was back then dearly.

Photo credit Miss Moss.


adventure, california, travel

Travel: Work trip in Santa Cruz, CA

September 5, 2014

I’ve lived in California more than four years now, but I can clearly remember driving with the windows down one cool, refreshingly crisp summer morning right after I moved here, thinking “why in the world doesn’t everyone live here?” I still stand by the sentiment, but I’ve come to realize that everyone DOES live here. That’s why amazing places like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and even the 580 Freeway in the Bay Area are almost always trafficky, congested messes. California is crowded, yo!

Nevertheless, I am still completely smitten with this state. I had to attend a video shoot in Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago for work. I woke up in the morning to a dense fog out of the window of my hotel room and felt pretty worried that we weren’t going to be able to get what we were looking for because of the weather. I don’t know why I doubted, though. By 11am, the fog had burnt off, revealing the most epic, quintessentially California beach day we could’ve ever asked for.

I didn’t have my good camera on me, but I just had to capture the day with the trusty iPhone. I hope you enjoy my snaps.

Santa cruz beach boardwalk Santa cruz beach boardwalk Santa cruz beach boardwalkSanta cruz beach boardwalk

I stayed at the Hotel Paradox (recommended, but I might stay at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn next time because they are dog-friendly and very convenient to the Board Walk) and ate at the Aquarius Restaurant at the Dream Inn twice, unfortunately. I honestly don’t recommend it because I had two meals there and was very disappointed both times, but the view from the table WAS amazing.

adventure, california, travel

Travel: Adventure at Pinecrest Lake

August 27, 2014

Last weekend, we loaded up the kids and the dog and headed up to the Sierras for a little adventure. We spent $80 to rent a little motorboat for the afternoon on Pinecrest Lake and you’d think that we’d rented a yacht for the way the kids were acting. We scouted out a swimming nook and took turns trying to withstand the FREEZING water. The boys even played in the boat while we were stationary. It was so adorable.

Writing this blog is going to force me to bring my camera with me more often and for that I am so grateful. I just don’t take the time to document my life and I really should. Looking at these pictures today made me so incredibly happy and thankful. DSC_1022