A SoCal based psychologist whose work feeds an insatiable wanderlust.


Cali Corner: My Favorite LA Landmark

The Griffith Observatory is perched atop Mount Hollywood and looms over the vast LA basin like a silent protector. It's history is vast and it's lessons on astronomy and other sciences have entertained me for years. For me, it is the most iconic structure in all of Los Angeles. 

To get to the observatory, drive up into Griffith Park, past the Greek Theatre (pretty much the best concert venue in LA), and through the old-timey tunnels that are straight out of Roger Rabbit.  I always wonder if Toon Town is going to appear on the other side.  This area is classic Hollywood, but also contemporary life filled with tourists, cyclists, and hikers. If you're lucky, you can score a parking spot in the lot and take an easy stroll to the grounds. 

Before I was a sucker for art deco architecture, I was fascinated with the cosmos on display as a kid and later watched trippy Pink Floyd laser shows in the planetarium as a young adult.  The exhibits on science essential to California-living bring a sense of community to the great interior halls of the observatory. My favorite has always been the Richter scale where you can jump up and down on the floor and make your own seismic waves (I love a good earthquake!).

My other 3 favorite things to do at Griffith Observatory are:

1. Catch a planetarium show (the only thing you have to pay for)
2. Hike one of the many trails, including one that leads to the back of the Hollywood sign
3. Have lunch on the lawn

Los Angeles is one of those cities where there are many spots we all visit again and again, wanting to share them with the new generations, but it's also filled with things we have never experienced before making any given weekend perfect for being a tourist in your own city.  

What is your favorite landmark in your home town?

Nerding Out in Vienna

Sitting in front of Hofsburg Palace in Vienna
Hofburg Palace
Standing in front of Sigmund Freud's Vienna office museum
Sigmund Freud's Vienna office museum
Exterior shot of Sigmund Freud's Vienna office museum
St. Stephen's Cathedral
City Hall
Bridge over a bridge

There's nothing quite like visiting the exceedingly gorgeous city of Vienna. And as somebody in the mental health field it was exponentially exciting. Sigmund Freud worked at the Vienna General Hospital in his early days of treating hysteria and it was at the University of Vienna, where Freud and Carl Jung collaborated to form the International Psychoanalytic Association  

I was fortunate enough to present some material related to my doctoral dissertation at an international forensic mental health conference in Vienna and it was a wonderful opportunity to explore this beautiful, clean, uncrowded city before journeying on to Prague

We were treated to a welcome reception at the beautiful City Hall and later in the trip we enjoyed a beer festival outside of the same gorgeous building while watching the model-animated film Peter and the Wolf on a giant movie screen. The absolute highlight of the trip included visiting Dr.Freud's office where I sat in his waiting room, but not on his couch (which is in London!) and eating at CafĂ© Landtmann where he and other famous psychiatric minds often consumed their stimulants- Coffee! 

Vienna is chock full of gorgeous cathedrals and interesting museums which dot 
immaculate tree-lined street . We were also treated to a healthy dose of Viennese street art along the canals and perfectly manicured gardens that are home to golden statues of the famous classical composers of the region. The trip wasn't complete without a tour of the Vienna State Opera House and trying every beer and schnitzel we could get our hands on. 

I'm interested to know what cities inspire your work or motivate your future professional goals! Let me know in the comments below. 

And be good to your mothers! 

Cali Corner: Claremont

The first Cali Corner feature is the city of Claremont. Officially on the outskirts of LA County, this college town is where I have my private practice office. I find myself here lot. For special dinners, for that new independent film, and for unique shopping.  I considered leaving this town off the list so I could keep it all to myself, but here we go!  

Oxford: Professors & Pints

Words cannot even express how hard I fell for Oxford. Totally unexpected, yet I don't really know what I was picturing. After all, this came after a packed week in London on our first ever visit to the UK and I was just ready for some relaxation. 

We visited the city surrounding the oldest university in the Engligh-speaking world when my sister-in-law had the opportunity to teach there for a semester. She had already been living there for four months and graciously planned an itinerary that was equal parts lounging in pubs and getting out to explore the sights. It was perfection.  

Six Pack of Peaks Challenge 2016

Not sure how I first heard about the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge. In 2014, my New Year resolution was to get outdoors more often, so my sister and I joined a local hiking club and most Sundays participated in an organized hike here in Southern California. I quickly found that being a hiker was equally challenging and rewarding, plus it got me to actually stick to a resolution for once in my life! 

This year I convinced the hubs to join me in climbing the six highest peaks in Southern California. So we signed up with SoCal Hiker and started off on the trails. The challenge runs from April through October and included the following peaks (in the order we completed them):

Mt. Wilson 

Definitely my least favorite of all the climbs (good thing we got it out of the way early), we did this one with our regular hiking crew.  This one is 14 miles round trip, but we somehow managed to add on a couple extra miles after a wrong turn. It has a steep beginning, which is killer on the knees on the way down and it was pretty warm in April. The summit is only 5,710 feet but the elevation gain is 4,200 feet.  Mount Wilson is home to most of the radio and television towers for the major media outlets in LA.  It also has an observatory that you can access by car.  The "summit" features a snack bar that has chili dogs if you wish to partake after a 7 mile trek uphill- BARF!