Weekend Snapshot {Fourth}

To me, a rich and satisfying life means one full of contrast. Give me sleep ins. And soft rains. Coffee shops and conversation. But also adrenaline and adventure. And drunken bellows to the stars. I am determined to embrace this extravagant life for all that it has to offer.” – Beau Taplin

A collection of photos from the Fourth of July weekend:



Old Town Orange, CA

Enter a caption


Insert {Thought} Bubble

“We do not exist for the sole purpose of paying our bills, grooming our kids to be able to do the same, and, maybe someday, retiring to finally enjoy life, should we ever reach that point. We are here to let our lights shine as brightly as possible, to drink in the joy of friendship and family, to serve and better the greater community and to tap into and inspire passion in everything we do. We are here to come alive.” – Jonathan Fields

What are you doing today to allow your light to shine?




I encourage you to enter your {thought} bubbles below:

Be {Obsessively} Grateful

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu

In an effort to increase the positivity in my life, I will be attempting to post at least once per week, listing all the things worth being grateful for! I have found that taking those few moments every day to focus in on what is already here is a a simple task {and an almost effortless habit} to living a happier life.


Ability to Travel

Living between two of Southern California’s major cities sure has its perks! This past weekend I spent a day in LA exploring the shops, cafés, and famous landmarks. Some favorite places worth mentioning: Griffith Observatory, Alcove Café & Bakery, and Messhall Kitchen.

Griffith Observatory


Kindness from Peers

This morning I received the sweetest text from an old friend from the university I attended. The text was completely out of the blue and easily put a smile on my face. I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep even old friends near!

Physical Health of Myself and Family

This year’s Father’s Day was spent hiking near the beautiful and iconic San Onofre State Beaches. Although the hike could have been considered moderate to difficult, our family of four was able to complete the hike with ease.

San Onofre, State Park


Our Earth’s Natural Remedies

Echinacea… it took me so long to even learn how to spell it… let alone SAY it {pronounced “Ek-in-a-sha”}. Now that I have moved passed those difficulties, I can simply enjoy its benefits. With a slight cold this week, this was my go-to symptom fighter!

Home Cooked Meals

This occurs EVERY NIGHT. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for a mother who finds joy in creating a new and unique meal every single night. I am so thankful the gene for cooking has been passed down, because I am definitely continuing our tradition.







{Productive} Ways to Relax after Work

“You can’t pour from an empty cup, you have to take care of yourself first.” – Unknown

I don’t know about you, but there are many days where the extent of my productivity ends the moment I clock out from my day at work {in fact, my personal favorite is the go-to: comfy yoga pants, a glass of wine, and some binge-worthy Netflix episodes}. After a long, often stressful, day it is quite difficult to find the motivation to continue that productivity.

You may be thinking, “Why would I want to do MORE work when I get home?”

Take a deep breath. I am not going to recommend pulling out your laptop to plan out your next stressful work day. When I push towards continuing productivity even after work hours, I do not mean work productivity. In fact, most of the recommendations listed below aren’t work related at all! Most push towards finding your “happy place” or finding the things that can make even the more difficult days, better.

I encourage you to try at least one of the following! And if you’re feeling adventurous, try multiple and find the ones that work best with your lifestyle.

Write it Out.

Have a rough day? Pull out one of those old, leather journals and write it out! This is an amazing stress reliever. After venting the negatives from the day, try writing a few positives. Gratitude and optimism can go a long way in improving one’s mood.

Clean the home & Let the music take control.

Turn up the tunes. Blast your favorite music and get in the zone. With an end result of a clean and beautiful home, cleaning can also provide immense relief from clutter, allowing the stress from your day to slowly fall off your shoulders.

Listen to a new Ted Talk or Podcast

I always push towards continued learning. There are so many Ted Talks/Podcasts out there to listen to providing a plethora of new and interesting information! Find ones that interest and motivate you {whether it’s music, photography, science, etc.). I personally love listening to podcasts revolving around health {especially new research in psychology!}.

Start a new hobby, or revisit an old one

Have a sketchbook stored away somewhere? Or maybe Grandma’s old knitting needles passed down to you years ago? Evenings are a great time to pull up your Pinterest DIY ideas and attempt something new. Even if it doesn’t look perfect, getting crafty is a great way to relax after long days.

Macrame Plant Hoders, here.


Try a new recipe / Wine and Dine.

A few recommended recipes: Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom ChickenGrilled Beef and Asparagus Kebabs, Avocado Egg Rolls, and Honey Garlic Butter Salmon. Pinterest always has the best ideas, hands down.

Bake a dessert.

More recommendations: Softbatch Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies, Blueberry Cobbler, Lemon Raspberry Coffee Cake, and Chewy Chocolate Brownies.

Go for walk (and don’t bring your phone!)

Even a short walk down the street, pooch in hand and breeze in your face, can provide deep relaxation after work {especially if you work long hours at a desk}.

Colorado Mountains, Feat. Gracie


Schedule fun into your weekdays.

Why not plan fun outings on the weekdays? Many of us wait for the weekend to plan activities, when there are five other days of the week! After work is a great time to schedule evening outings. How about a night out with margaritas and tacos on Tuesday? Plan anything that gets you exited about a weeknight!

Ojai, California


Other recommendations to try!

  • Sweat it out – Head to a nearby gym!
  • Plan a date night with an old friend.
  • Pamper yourself.
  • Strike a pose {Yoga}


And many more! Please feel free to comment your {Productive} Ways to Relax below! xo


Things to do {San Clemente} CA

Even after living in this little town for over 10 years, I still fall head-over-heels in love with it every day! If you know anything about me, you know I can’t be too far from the ocean for long. We all know that spending time outdoors is both physically and mentally “good” for us. Studies are now showing spending time at the beach or near the ocean may have even higher benefits. I find this to be personally true… I’ll take a trip to the beach, simply for a quick mood-booster {Yes, I’m simply trying to find reasons to never leave}.

Below I have provided a list of my all time favorite, go-to places in San Clemente. I’m sure this list will continue to evolve as time passes {you would think I would know all the “hot” spots in my own town, and yet I continue to try new things}, so stay tuned!


Well known to be the one taking photos of her every meal… Of course I would start with food…
  • The Bagel Shack


  • Ellie’s Table {Coffee and Bakery}



  • Zebra House Coffee
  • Bear Coast Coffee


  • Lavender Lounge
  • Fisherman’s Bar and Grill {Located on the San Clemente Pier}


  • Nomads {Best known for its fresh Ahi}


  • Nick’s {& South of Nick’s}
  • H.H. Cottons


  • Selma’s Chicago Pizzaria
  • Left Coast Brewing


  • South Swell Hand Dipped Ice Cream




  • San Clemente Pier


  • T-Street
  • Linda Lane
  • Beach Trail
  • Sea Summit Trail


  • SUP {Stand Up Paddle-boarding}
  • San Clemente Outlets
  • Del Mar Street


As mentioned, I will continue to add on to this list || Recommendations? Comment below!
Beautiful San Clemente, CA
xo, Ww



Weekend Snapshot {Between Storms}

Storms in Southern California? Wasn’t El Niño supposed to happen months ago?

Though this rain storm wasn’t planned, it was much needed. Back in June 2016, less than six months from this date, Los Angeles had recorded it’s driest 5-year period since record-keeping began almost 140 years ago.

Thankfully, we are starting to see improvements!! In fact….

“Los Angeles is experiencing its wettest winter in years, with 14.33 inches of rain since October — more than 200% of average. That’s nearly as much rain as the city gets in a typical year.” – L.A. Times

I would say that is definitely an improvement. Being a Southern California local, I can say with utmost confidence that we were absolutely blessed with this rain.

This past weekend, between storms, I spent some quality time with my one and only. A little bit of rain didn’t stop this guy from driving two hours to visit this little beach town I call home.

First stop upon arrival… COFFEE. If you knew us both, you would probably say we were “meant to be” simply due to our love for coffee. And what better place to spend a rainy afternoon than at a favorite local coffee shop? BEST COFFEE IN TOWN is an accurate advertising for this little place. In fact, they make one of my favorite brews – Killer Dana – named after the local city of Dana Point, CA.


Later that evening, we decided to try a new spot downtown – H.H. Cottons. Together we enjoyed burgers, beers, and overall good company from the employees within the restaurant.


Recommended items on the menu:

  • Saint Maria Burger {Tri-tip, pico, black pepper aioli, grilled brioche}
  • Saint Clement Burger {Herb goat cheese, butter lettuce, caramelized pears, arugula, black pepper aioli}
  • Side Mashed Potatoes
  • Artifex, Left Coast, Lost Winds {Local Brews on Tap}



Additional Reading – California Dought

California drought shrinks to smallest level in years

Before and After: The Rain’s Impact

Nearly Half of California Is No Longer in a Drought

The Silly Feeling of {Guilt}

(n.) A feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong; or haven’t done something right.

Guilt is such a funny feeling… and yet, I must admit, it’s such a common theme in my life.

More times than not, I feel guilty when I haven’t done at least one productive task in a day. I find it very difficult to simply take time to take a deep breath and relax. I may sit for a record of one-minute (maybe two… if I’m lucky), and immediately think of something I should be doing.

Back at the University, friends would look at me incredulously as I explained I almost never sat down during the day (During that time, something as simple as a nap seemed nearly impossible). As I explained this silly quirk of mine, I realized inside I felt torn between pride and regret. I was proud of how much I could complete in a day, but ended my day exhausted… making the next day even harder to complete the next tasks in line.

Sure, guilt serves a purpose in our goals and shortcomings, but should we really be dwelling on these things? Why is it so hard to simply give our mind and body a break? What if dwelling on unfinished tasks only slow our growth?

On No Sidebar, a blog with a collection of articles to help individuals live a simpler life, I found an article written by Erica Layne, another inspiring blogger. In her article, she outlines 7 things we shouldn’t feel guilty about. One, specifically about sitting down and taking time for yourself, really stood out to me:

Sitting down doesn’t always come at the cost of your productivity: It might just make you more effective when you get back up.

Seems pretty accurate to me, I’ll have to test it out sometime.

Additional reading:

52 Obtainable Ways to Simplify Your Life

What To Do When Everything Feels Important

Challenge Yourself: 8 Ideas & Movements to Explore This Year

Cheers {To Healing}

“Does Southern California even have a winter?”

Sometimes even I ask myself this question. I have lived in Southern California for 13 years now, and am still in awe of the unbalanced ratio of warm and cold days throughout an entire year (not that I am complaining!). Although Southern California only gets chilly for a few months of the year (if you could call 50’s at night chilly), unfortunately, the presence of the cold and flu season isn’t completely eliminated.

“The common cold, or rhinovirus infection, is an upper-respiratory tract infection that can produce mucus, congestion and a runny nose. Infections result in inflammation — the body’s natural defense mechanism that destroys bacteria and viruses.” – Jan Millehan

Along with an abundance fluids, Vitamin C, and rest, a report from the Linus Pauling Institute provides insight on the benefits of a glass of red wine during a cold. I know what your thinking… wine?? How could this possibly be beneficial for my cold??

We have all heard a glass of red wine is “good” for us, but shall we dig a little deeper into the research behind the simple statement? In an article by Jan Millehan, she describes the benefits of flavonoids on our every day health. Flavanoids, or antioxidant-like plant substances, are mostly found in fruits such as apples, pears, and grapes – from which red wine is derived. These flavonoids act as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent. With an abundance of flavonoids in red wine, it is suggested that drinking a glass during a cold may reduce inflammation as well as the excess mucus and phlegm in both the nasal and airway passages.

Another beneficial compound found in the skin of grapes is Resveratrol, believed to prevent certain molecules in our bodies from being produced – both of which increase inflammation. Symptoms from a common cold, such as inflammation and mucous buildup (both in the nose and chest), may benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects from Resveratrol.


All this science and talk of wine is making me thirsty… I think I may go and pour myself a glass! I am getting over a cold, after all!




*Please note, if you plan on having a glass or two of wine during your cold….

  • Do NOT mix with medication.
  • Make sure you are keeping up on fluids (water, gatorade, etc.) to avoid dehydration.


Still not convinced? Continue Reading:

How a glass or two of wine can help beat those colds – Daily Mail, by Jenny Hope

Red Wine Can Help Cure Your Cold – The Daily Meal, by Arianna Vasseghi



Photo: Taken in Paso Robles, CA. 

Weekend Snapshot {Sick Days}

Hello flu season, goodbye accumulated sick days…

We all know the initial symptoms of a cold and/or a flu. Although they are a bit different in everyone, depending on the virus and overall health of the individual, we all, at one point, experience exhaustion and discomfort.

I spent this weekend wrapped in blankets, chugging green tea as if it would simply wash away the pain. I probably had about a gallon per day {no joke}. We all know tea has been labeled “good” for us, but I decided to dig a bit deeper. In the days spent cuddled up drinking my green tea, I furthered my learning on herbal teas and the benefits of each – specifically ones I, personally, didn’t know much about.


Rosehip tea

I really wish I had this one in the home while I was sick. Rosehips are the fruit of the rose bush and are said to be one of the best sources of Vitamin C {as a plant source, that is}. This type of tea would be ideal for drinking on the onset of cold or flu symptoms.

Lemon Balm Tea

Some say this tea is the best for the “winter blahs” or the meh feeling you get when its just too cold, too wet, or too depressing to go outside – or even to be productive indoors. Lemon Balm is specifically good at lifting one’s spirits and improving concentration. This also makes it perfect for stress and anxiety.

Rooibos tea

Another antioxidant boosting tea I wish I had in my cupboard! The Rooibos tea, which is most largely grown in South Africa, shows to have very high amounts of Vitamin C and other minerals. Another plus, it may be able to help with certain skin concerns, such as eczema.

Ginger Tea

I have never been a fan of ginger, whether it be on a side dish in a sushi bar or in a ginger candy… but I would be up for trying Ginger in tea form! It has been found to be ideal for any kind of nausea or upset stomach due to motion sickness. It can also be a perfect germ-fighting combination if mixed with fresh lemon juice and honey. Much needed for the cold I have been fighting!


As you can see there are many health benefits from a variety of different herbal teas. I, however, have simply summarized findings from a variety of different sites. If you’re interested in more, I welcome you to engage in the research provided on Science Daily or other credible sites!