Monthly Archives: February 2014

Roses are red, hearts are blue…

The Blue Heart Campaign raises awareness to fight human trafficking and it’s impact on society. This inspirational foundation puts positive energy into “encourage involvement and inspire action to help stop this crime”.

I was honored to be invited to the Blue Heart International launch party hosted by my dear friend Teav and her partners Missy and Blake. Teav was born in Cambodia during a genocide and escaped to America with with her parents when she was 7. Now, she’s a proactive woman shining light on a growing issue that needs attention. Pictured below is the glowing girls Teav and Missy.
Fun fact: They’re both pregnant!


The elegant venue was held in the rolling hills of Lincoln, California. Let’s take a walk!







Lining the walls were tables of art and accessories that were created by the lovely ladies in order to raise funds. From recycled clothing that we’re made into scarves, to paintings and sparkling jewelry.




It’s been awhile since I’ve played with a stamp-pad, but what a perfect opportunity! Two fingerprints created the shape of a heart that marked the spot for your name. Adorable!



My smiling date for the evening? Meet Freya. I starting doing her hair years ago and we immediately connected beyond the salon chair. Now she’s a dear friend who shares the love for travel, food and putting her creativity to positive use. What a perfect partner to compliment this evening!


As people arrived, you could feel the love exude through kind conversation and genuine smiles.


These are some of the precious girls that were rescued years ago and have chosen to be a positive part of their community.



Cheerful tunes from this peaceful artist was a soft touch to enhance the already welcoming vibe.


Let’s take a moment and appreciate the phenomenal caterer that filled the room with hand rolls, small bites and chilled sake. The owner of Mikunis restaurant, whom also has an incredible story that he shared with all of us, kept the seaweed moving. I met him when I was 10 years old learning to use chopsticks while sitting at his first tiny restaurant. Oh how we’ve both grown. Thank you Taro!






After serving all of the grateful guests, Taro kicked off the speeches with his own story. One that included a pop quiz regarding his restaurant and the morals behind it. Guess who answered quickly and correctly? I’m now the proud owner of his recipe book!



Moving on to the purpose of the evening in which we got to hear Teav, Missy and others speak from their hearts. Unsettling facts, personal stories and future goals were just a few of the topics shared from the front of the room.



I’m confident to say the majority of the crowd was sniffling or gently holding a tissue to their eyes. A bitter sweet emotion seemed to capture everyone’s spirit… sympathetic yet hopeful. How do you feel when finding out that most of the girls are between 8-15 years old and are “sold” an average 25 times a day? Easier heard than truly thought about.



A personal thanks to Teav for inviting me to this eye-opening event and presenting new opportunities with endless possiblities!


…to be continued.

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I eat my leftovers first.

Well friends, turns out I love food. If you’ve been following for long, you’ve witnessed what seemed to be the endless exploring of several different markets and the entertaining lessons during cooking classes.



I’d like to share something that I’ve been doing for years and I’m sure there are many people out there who have had a similar ideas. My grandma’s “refrigerator soup” for example, is all the left overs from the fridge into a pot that magically turns into some sort of tasty stew. My version uses fresh ingredients, that in most households gets pushed aside or discarded to waste.

I now realize that I’ve never given it a name, so here’s my version of “leftovers”. (I’ll have to give it an appropriate title someday).

On this beautiful afternoon I was playing with spinach, cilantro and beet leaves for a salad to pair with garlic roasted butternut squash. Don’t you wish that was the goodness I was sharing? Sorry, recipes will come later. This post is about recycling the part of the herb or veggie that doesn’t get used in the common meal!

Step one: Clean your scrumptious items and cut what you’d like to use for your proper dish. Put that bulk section aside for whatever you got them for in the first place.



Step two: Place all of the stems, guts, limbs, leaves, ends, crumbs and other miscellaneous unwanted parts into a pot with a little water.




Step 3: Add any other veggies from your stash that need to be used before they go bad. Even throw in some seasonings if you want. Today I tossed in the outer edge of an onion and a few garlic cloves that I had laying around. Also, to add some density, I added a few cubes of the uncooked squash.





Turmeric fun facts: (Maybe not fun, but useful… You should look into it)
There are countless internal health benefits of Turmeric – anti inflammatory, diabetes control, liver detox, weight management, reduction in cancer growth, boosts immune system, aids digestion, preventive powers with Alzheimer’s…the list goes on! However, did you know that it’s also a natural antiseptic and antibacterial? If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process.

Step 4: Simmer just long enough to barely soften all of the goodies. (We’ve all been told not to overcook vegetables in order to maintain as much of the nutrients as possible, right?).



Step 5: Let cool, especially if you’re going to be using plastic. Follow by launching (or gently scooping) your veg-o-chaos into a mixer including the flavorful broth left behind. Blend it up!



What to do with it now? Purée it for a sauce, let it be the base for a pasta dish or maybe mix it in with brown rice and kidney beans. Usually I would top my soup off with the roasted seeds from above, however on this day, I ate them right out of the oven. Typical.


To be honest, my usual routine consists of eating a majority of it straight from the mixer then saving the “leftovers” for the main course. Yes mom, I know… You should never eat standing up. I’m working on it”.

Happy leftover cooking to you!


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Dreamcatcher with the Hawk!

Recently I’ve slowed down the blog posts as I’m back in the states to replenish the travel funds. As I described in How do you afford all of that traveling, I generally volunteer for room and board and cut hair on the road to accumulate extra cash. Well, I can only save up so many flyer miles until I actually have to purchase the flight and thus, I’m currently working in my home state of California to prepare for the next excurssion.

Side note: I feel it’s necessary to express that although I’m here to “prepare” for the next journey, I do my best to appreciate everyday. To be in the “now” is something I try to be conscious of and embrace as I skip down the beautiful path that we call life.

Mark, Better known as Hawk, is a brightly spirited man thats eager to share the love he’s put into music and is currently collecting donations to release his first album. We met back when recess was the highlight of the day and Whitney Houston battled George Michaels for the top spot of the billboard charts.

One must smile when you see this guy!

This is where you stop reading and take a quick peek at his fundraising page, Dream Catcher Hawk Debut!


Moving on to a brilliant evening that was made up of a group of positive thinking, open-hearted friends that gathered to support my long time pal. First here’s Anna and Tim, they opened their home to all of us and did so with smiles and an unexpected dinner that was offered without hesitation. Kale and quinoa salad with butternut squash soup… Yes please!



Standing tall (inside and out) is Hawk. Next to him is Mackenzie, a girl with a golden heart that will brighten your world with few words and a sincere smile. The happy fella next to me? You should recognize Mike from the last stretch in Europe. Group hug for everyone!


I wanted to add this adorable photo of Ann and Tim’s kids loving the company. Good times!


Heading to the backyard, we found a beautifully designed layout that seemed to be made just for the gathering of great friends.






Let the blissful tunes begin! If some of these faces look familiar, it could be from the post in which they captured my new found love for the mat at Leap Yoga Studio.








Did you notice the white dome in the panoramic photo from above? Welcome to the colorful, sound enhancing room of joy. Well done friends!






Do you ever wonder if there’s a group of individuals out there that truly desire genuine peace in their life… bundles of positive energy that attract more light to their already vibrant world? My heart beats with ease just knowing this bunch of bright people who are constantly spreading the warmth with their daily choices. One love!

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Folsom Lake, no swimsuit needed.

When I tell people I’m from California, I usually get a response questioning my ability to surf and/or if I can see the ocean from my house. Considering I grew up in the Central Valley, my “surf” was behind a boat on one of the many lakes and rivers. Folsom lake specifically was a huge part of my childhood as it was just a bike ride away. With the slightest glimpse of the Spring’s sun, we would be packed up and headed for the water. 20140209-090718.jpg

To see more of sunshine playtime in California check out the post, “Jumbled July Shenanigans in California”.

Back to Folsom Lake. So, how did this aquatic social park get here? Before the massive body of water, there was a dainty little town that was home to 2,500 Mormon immigrants seeking riches after settlers struck gold in the nearby city of Coloma. Developed in 1848, it lasted only 100 years before the city was flooded for the Folson Dam project that created the lake we know today.

Thank you internet for this photo of the historic town during it’s prime.


After 2 consecutive dry seasons, Folsom Lake is at a record low of only 17% capacity. Below is a comparison of the dam when the lake was full and one of the present state of drought.20140209-091200.jpg

With levels this low, the lost city from the 1800’s has revealed evidence of it’s once thriving existence. Now that you can walk miles of what usually is underwater, we decided to head out to see the city we had been swimming over for years. (Recognize these boys? Mike and Hayden were my amusing partners in crime during the last adventure in Europe).


Here, you can see old roads and remaining stones from what could of been a local home, saloon or school.20140209-093627.jpg




If you’ve ever enjoyed a summer on this lake, you’ve seen at least one of your friends (if not you, yourself) dive in after a phone, a pair of sunglasses, keys, watch… pretty much anything that doesn’t float. I can only imagine how many of these were found during the early days of the drought. On this excurssion, we were lucky to see older items that had been discovered and placed on display for the public to view.







Luckily I’m writing this post with rain hitting the windows and predicted snow fall in the mountains. We’re all hoping for the return of a lake in the near future, so I’ll leave this post with one of my favorite night photos I took on Folsom Lake years ago after a day of play in the sun. !


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