Wall Traveled in DTLA

It's been fun getting to know Downtown LA now that I'm working here most days.  I've been especially drawn to the DTLA Arts District, which is changing at a rapid rate. But among the pop-up clothing stores and terrific vegetarian restaurants, is an impressive amount of, well, art. 

Wall art to be specific. Each corner you turn is like walking into another room adorned with the most chic, extravagant wall paper. Art that addresses political views, features female empowerment, and there are plenty of Global Angel Wings to remind us that we are all citizens of the City of Angels.  

Enjoy some of my Insta worthy favorites.   


Behind the Curtain

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Justin Trosclair, a chiropractor and podcast host, who highlights the work of doctors from various disciplines.  This summer, his podcast, A Doctor's Perspective, is featuring 8 female doctors and dives into the secrets of their success (Here's a hint: hard work), struggles in their work, and how they maintain their own mental and physical wellness. 

My interview (here) goes in depth into the work I have done with sexual offenders and touches on some controversial issues that I have had to deal with in my work with this population. I am also quite candid in how the work has impacted me and what I do to ensure I still have a fulfilling, untainted home life. 

I am passionate about mentoring early career professionals and I am confident that this podcast series will not only help students and young people learn about potential future careers, but will inspire already established professionals to learn about other disciplines in the doctoral world. Aside from focusing on giving our clients the best care, it is so important for us to support each other and continue to learn from one another. 


A Distant Mentality Turns One!

This is been quite a year! I started this blog mainly as a travel diary and a much-needed creative outlet, but it turned into so much more.

Over the past year I've been able to share my family's previous trips, I've highlighted my favorite places in and around Los Angeles, and the blog also became a career advice column of sorts. When I started out, I knew that I wanted to teach others how to incorporate travel into their work but this outlet has really allowed me to do so much more in that area; inspiring others to pursue the field of psychology.

The year's highlights for me have been a road trip through the Southwest, exploring the far-flung Pacific Northwest and Alaska, a work-turned-family trip to Denmark, and collaborating with other creatives and academics.

I've learned so much this year and I thought I would share with you one of the biggest tricks to travel blogging; how I go about scoring travel sponsorships. Really it's a healthy mix of things I already do in my real work life, networking, good writing skills, and being dedicated to the effort. Here's the step by step:

  1. Once you have a travel spot in mind (in my case it usually revolves around a conference), start making a list of accommodations in the area. If you want to know which ones have worked with bloggers before, Google something like "Copenhagen hotel blog" and follow the blog sites for hotel names. 
  2. Next you will need to reach out. This is going to happen via email so scour the hotel sites for email addresses, preferably those for media or public relations associates. In your email, you will want to include the following: dates of travel, number of occupants, your blog's niche, and who your target audience is. Specify what you will highlight in your posts/ social media (museums, hotels, outdoors activities, etc.) and lastly inquire if they "work with travel bloggers." Include links to your site and social media under your signature so they can check you out and see if you are a good fit. If you want a sample template- email me! 
  3. Leave plenty of time for communication and research. I try to reach out as soon as I have secured my travel dates. There can be a lot of back an forth communication with a hotel and they don't like to accommodate discounted rates with short notice requests (plus it lacks professionalism). 
  4. Be ready to book within 48-72 hours after you are given a rate via email. Once you have committed to a hotel, try not to back out. Keep the rest of the travel community in mind and help encourage the positive working relationships with the blogging world! 

This technique absolutely worked for my first international trip as a travel blogger and I stayed in some lovely places in Denmark for next to nothing. I don't think I even had 300 followers on Instgram at that point! 

In closing, big thanks to my readers and I hope you are looking forward to some more valuable content and gorgeous photographs in our sophomore year! 


Cali Corner: My Favorite LA Sports Venue

I know, I know. Shocking that my favorite Los Angeles sports venue is not Dodger Stadium. It should be pretty obvious that I love baseball and I have been spending a lot of time near the Dodgers' home field lately, but when I think of my all-time favorite place to spend the day (and I mean all day), Santa Anita Race Track has my heart.

Nestled up against the San Gabriel foothills, the Santa Anita Race Track is a spectacular sight. Despite being in the midst of the great depression, the race track opened in 1934 to keep Southern Californians entertained. Many racing legends have been made here and you can still see celebrity trainers and jockeys on a daily basis.

But the aesthetics of the buildings are my favorite part. Green and yellow and properly Floridian, you truly feel like you are on a fancy vacation as soon as you walk through those gates. Additionally, the inside is over the top with tropical birds, golden chandeliers, and palm fronds wallpaper. Part indoor and part outdoor, the experience has something for everyone. There are shady benches next to sculptures and fountains and play areas for the kiddos in the center of the track (by way of underground tunnel, of course). 

My best suggestion for spending time here? 

Either come get breakfast early in the morning at Clocker's Corner where you can get table service while watching the ponies during their morning workouts. Or, arrive an hour or so before the first race and wander the grounds. Grab the "best turkey sandwich ever" in the clubhouse and choose your daily double.


The Saguaro Mommy & Me Getaway

I already wrote about why Palm Springs is so special to me and how it scorched its way into my heart throughout my childhood. It is for those reasons that sharing this special place with my daughter is all the more fulfilling. She's growing to love it too. What kid doesn't love splashing around in the pool all day and staying in a cozy new bed? My daughter used to refer to Palm Springs as "the white hotel" after we stayed in, you guessed it, a minimalistic white hotel when she was quite young.  But that all changed when we decided to do a mid-week getaway right before everyone descended on the area for Coachella. She now prefers "The Rainbow Hotel."

For a travel blogger, the Saguaro seems like an obvious choice.  I mean, hotels don't get more Instaworthy than the colorful and chic Saguaro Hotel & Pool (you can get day passes to the pool if you are staying elsewhere) situated a bit away from the main boulevard of Palm Springs proper. But before it hosted creative retreats and gave fashionistas bright backdrops, it was a place that my father and I spent many lazy days. The hotel is big enough to engage with many other desert rats, but feels like a boutique property with so much detail given to its aesthetic. Days at the pool fill the best parts of my memory. I remember live steel drums and BBQs around lunch time. Now the scene is great for adults and kiddos with a full bar and an excellent menu. The hotel provides a load of pool floats (think lobsters and flamingos) and people like to bring and share their own! 

The Saguaro makes it easy to stay contained at the property without wanting for much more.  Sure we ventured out at night for an entertaining teppan dinner and went for breakfast at The Ace Hotel, but we never felt stuck at the Saguaro throughout the day. There are bikes to rent to explore the area and a stellar Mexican restaurant on the property. Honestly I can't think of many places where I would go with the family, a group of girlfriends, or by myself but the Saguaro may just be it!

Age 12 at the same property


Changing Direction: Why & When?

Is there ever a perfect time to make a major life change? Not really. You can do your best to project the perfect time to have a baby or to buy house but there's really no guarantee what the future has in store for us and that can be very daunting. Especially for those of us who like to plan every little detail of life (okay, not really but pretty much).

Recently I made a major career shift and I want to tell you how I went about my decision making process of jumping from one ship to another. 

For over 10 years I have been working 
as a forensic therapist with criminal offenders in the community. It's what I studied in grad school, it's what I researched, and it is the area in which I have built my expertise. If you are reader of my Career Central posts you know that I have spent a lot of time and energy in this field, including taking it upon myself to present related material in international platforms (which allows me to travel to some great places!).

But no matter how much I have invested in my past, I am constantly looking towards my future. Trying to predict where my life will go and what I will want. It's no easy task to look through a cloudy crystal ball. But I knew a few things while contemplating my forward moving path. I knew that I would eventually be moving a little bit closer to downtown Los Angeles in the next couple of years. And I also knew that I wanted to prevent major burn out in my career, meaning I did not want to start hating my job. It's heavy stuff and it definitely causes some wear and tear on the psyche. I also knew that I wanted to take prior experience and apply it to something new; something that I could learn as a new trade while applying my already developed skills. It excited me to think about being the new person soaking in the training and knowledge of others in new territory.

So last year I put in for a job in downtown LA that I thought might have some openings in the next year or two. To my surprise the process moved rather quickly and once I was hired, they needed me to start four months sooner than anticipated. It was wonderful to choose between two great careers but it was a no-brainer once I saw that the new position met all of my aforementioned needs. 

I just finished my first week.  I have a wonderful new colleague who started with me, amazing new supervisors and co-workers who I aim to be like one day. I also now work as a psychologist for a law enforcement behavioral science unit that is among the best in the country. I may have to work more days a week and commute through some rough traffic right now, but I am also entirely stimulated and energized to be my best self. Only in this state will I be able to best serve my clientele. 


The Painted Desert

My third grade teacher, my favorite teacher of all time, taught us the best way to remember how to differentiate between dessert and desert when spelling.  Dessert had two SS for "sweet stuff" and desert had on S for "sand." I love that and I think about it every time I travel onto that dark desert highway on my way to Palm Springs.

I think I smell colitas...

Palm Springs has alway been a sort of Mecca for me.  I took some of my first steps here and learned to swim in hotel pools on weekend family vacations. I crushed on that first older boy as a poolside teen and brought my sister here to get away from it all after a bad break-up.  It is truly that place where you can drive for an hour or two and feel like you are hundreds of miles away from whatever you want to leave behind, be it job, the bustle of the city, or a heartache. I would even come here for a bit of rest and sun worship to study before finals. The air is still and the sun is intense and it makes for the the ideal setting for mentally checking out. 

The mini road trip from LA has it's share of roadside attractions and the town itself is full of quirkiness, competing with the classy mid century aesthetic. Although I've been coming here for decades, I still find something new to gawk at as I drive down Palm Canyon Blvd. These days, I'm finding myself pulling over to snap a picture.  When I think of the most Insta-worthy city, Palm Springs is a hands-down winner for it's size. 

What's your local escape and why do you love it?

Colorful OC

To kick off my week in between jobs (Yep starting something new next week!), we decided to have a "Family Date Night" that we would all enjoy. The theme ended up being our own little World of Color!
Unicorn Hot Chocolate

Unicorn Milkshake

I rarely venture to Anaheim unless I am heading to Disneyland but I have been dying to try the Unicorn hot chocolate from Creme & Sugar ever since I got an eyeful of the rainbow concoction on Instagram! This thing is gorgeous and equally as decadent with just about the entire kitchen sink on top of pink liquid. If the witch from Hansel and Gretel had invented this, I'm sure she would have been wildly successful too! They also have Cookie Monster and Circus animal cookie versions. The bakery makes amazing custom cakes as well and has an entire espresso bar. We had to get some straight-up black coffee to cut back on the sweetness. The now famous Unicorn drinks, including an incredible cotton candy flavored milkshake, used to be part of a "secret menu," but the art of secret keeping is tough to maintain in the age of social media. 

As if we didn't get enough color at Creme & Sugar, we decided to stop by the (fairly) new train depot in Anaheim.  I worked in Orange County from 2012-2015 and watched this monstrosity, also known as ARTIC, being built everyday as I whizzed by on the freeway.  It gives a light show that just may rival Disneyland's fireworks. The depot is part fairytale dream and part futuristic portal to somewhere magical.  Kinda makes me wish I traveled more by train here in the States. 
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