Posts Tagged With: California

16 flights, 4 states and a lot of love

Just as quickly as we arrived to our new place of residence, I was packing up to fly back to California for a round of hair for my loyal clients. This trip was a mother-daughter adventure and was packed full of work, food, work, a day out and more work. It was also my little ones first airplane ride!

Without exaggerating, we were in the salon 11 of the 13 days we were in California. My hands were in hair and mom was taking care of everything else for me, such a help! One day we were off early enough to check out one of our old favorite sushi restaurants, Mikunis!

With over 70 salon clients completed and a beautiful bride happy with her hair, we were on the flight back to Florida.

Upon landing back home, I didn’t put my suitcase away since just a month later I was headed back to California! This time with Matt to do a few more weddings and one last round of hair for my clients.

#PregnantGirlWithASkateboard

My dear friends Sandy and Cheryl put on a baby shower for us which was such a sweet surprise surrounding us with so much love and excitement! Tons of hair, 2 weddings and a flight back home puts us back in Florida and into October. Believe it or not, 6 days later I hopped another flight to head to Oklahoma and Arkansas for one last visit to my fathers family before our little girl meets the world.

Oklahoma was peaceful and full of family time which I value so much. If you’re new to this blog, feel free to look back on the older post, New found higher love or Hot with a 92% chance of muggy to get more of an understanding of these precious kids!

While in Oklahoma, my fathers amazing wife threw me a baby shower which was filled with so much love!

Fun and crazy fact, if you were to take the women (about a dozen) at this shower and added up the total amount of children they’ve had combined… it rounds out at 50!

After Oklahoma, my brother Ben and sister Hannah drove me to Arkansas where I got to spend about a week with my dear cousins. Road trip!

Arkansas was wonderful as always and ended with a fun photo to capture my best friend (cousin) and I with our role reversal. These pictures were taken 7 years apart!On my flight back home I realized that our little girl has been on 16 flights since being created and she’s not even born yet! Hopefully this is preparing her for the beautiful journey ahead.

Finally landed back in Florida with my babé where we’ll stay until Shanti Mae is born!

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On the road again!

After 8 months in Folsom, we were preparing to make our journey from California to Florida. First step was to sell our beloved Toyota 4Runner and purchase a “grownup” vehicle, a family friendly, fuel efficient, safe and reliable Subaru Crosstrek.

In the meantime, we had been looking into renting a Uhaul trailer to tow all of our belongings and after weeks of research, we (he) decided to build a trailer on his own to save cash and have something we can keep… and let’s admit it, it was a cool project for captain construction to have some fun with 😉 I’ll admit I was a little hesitant in the beginning but as time passed it proved to be perfect! I’m so proud.

Ok, so we’re packed, loaded and ready to go! Looking at the car-trailer photo from above makes me giggle knowing that everything we own is in that picture (excluding Matts surf boards). We have so much to be grateful for and so minimal to worry about. Beautiful!

The last time we made this trip (in reverse) we took the northern route through Nevada, Utah, Colorado and then on. This time we chose to go south to visit a few friends along the way and see some new scenery. First stop was in Riverside (Southern California) to see Craigg! You’ll recognize him from his first trip to Barbados, my time in Japan and most recently at our wedding.

Next up was Phoenix to hug Christie and John! Another bundle of joy that you’d recognize from Doing work in the AZ and also our wedding!

There really wasn’t anybody from Arizona to Oklahoma so we just made a quick overnight stop in New Mexico and woke up to get to my dads house for bedtime.

Our time in Oklahoma was short and sweet but allowed for a solid catch up with our family and announce the gender of our little one! We gave all 5 siblings a can of silly string and let them unload on us. Too much fun!

After Oklahoma we made what should of been a quick trip to Arkansas but considering we stopped every hour for the prego to pee, it took us far longer than expected. Sorry babe. The photo below is me attempting to get comfortable with a pregnancy pillow that was gifted to us. Epic fail… but we eventually made it to beautiful Hot Springs!

More cousins and tons of love greeted us on our final extended stay of the trip.

We made it to our last stop of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in which the camera regrettably didn’t leave our bags. I have no picture highlighting our visit with Matts grandparents (Maw Maw and Paw Paw) but it was short, sweet and full of homemade cookin! Early the following morning we said our goodbyes and put home in the GPS. Final destination, Miramar Beach, Florida!

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Back back to Cali Cali!

So there we were, living in Folsom, California as newlyweds ready to start a foundation for our future. (We only lasted 8 months, but here it was in a nutshell!)

Accommodations: We purchased a 28ft princess palace (aka a travel trailer) in order to live minimally and save to the max. We loved our little home and it served us properly before we sold it to move.

Working: I dove right back into the world of beauty by reopening my hair salon under the new name of “Hair Gypsy”. My loyal clients were so eager to support the return and helped get me back in action!

Matt continued his photography and videography by shooting family photos, senior portraits, weddings and special events. You can check out that gallery by clicking here!

Both of us got a rejuvenating job coaching at Tricks Gymnastics, Matt was working in the Tag program and I was coaching the artistic gymnastics.

(Fun fact: I worked at Tricks from 1997-2005 coaching the competitive team!)

On the side, we also picked up dog sitting which turned into our favorite little paw escape. These pups were so much fun and turned into family!

When we weren’t working, you could usually find us (mainly Matt) on a bike exploring the popular trails that surround the Lake and extend to outer cities.We also took advantage of being surrounded by some incredible destinations and often took day or weekend trips to explore!

Lake Tahoe!Santa Cruz!

San Francisco!Although Northern California has beautiful scenery, unlimited career options and some of my most favorite people in the world… it just wasn’t feeding our souls. A tough decision but a solid one as we decided to move to the Panhandle of Florida.

Just before packing up to move across the states we found out that we were soon to be a party of 3… What a beautiful addition to our already exciting life!

Next journey… road trip back to the East Coast!

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Honeymoon Road trip – part 2!

Our honeymoon happened to overlap with Matts birthday so I wanted our next pitstop to be extra special. Utah or Nevada, hmmm. I searched for hidden jems and popular attractions and didn’t have to look any farther once landing on this beauty….

The Mystic Hot Springs of Monroe Utah!

👉🏽 CLICK HERE to see the video of our adventure at the Springs!

It’s a quaint little community many miles away from well, anything! Although the main attraction was the natural hot springs that bubble up on the property, the selling point for me was the accommodations. You had your choice between a van, covered wagon or old fashion school bus, all which had been converted into lovable spaces. We chose the bus!

The outside had a small patio which was the perfect space for Matt to cook us up some dinner on our camping stove while we sat and took in the ambiance. Inside there was a small dining area, full bed, couch and sink that took up most of the space with a bright tapestry separating the door from the room. The door, mind you, was the original swinging model with no lock or safe way of securing it completely closed. The bright side was being surrounded by people who generally gave off the hippie “one love” vibe with no concern of taking from you. A lot of bare feet, beards, braids and smiles greeted us as we walked the property.

The highlight of our stay was by far the music! We happen to hit the weekend when a female bluegrass brand was passing through. The Sweet Lilies had a magnetic way of drawing you in to their soulful sound and unique style. We were sitting front row and enjoyed every minute! To make it even more memorable, one of the girls had spoke with Matt prior and found out he was a musician as well. This led to them inviting him on stage to jam out for a few songs, what a rare opportunity!

If you’re ever driving through the dessert of Monroe Utah and need some entertainment or place to crash, I highly suggest you take a dip in the springs and walk the grounds barefoot!

The rest of our trip was through the dry desert of Nevada finally landing us in Northern California. Here’s a few more random photos to wrap up the road trip!

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Coast to coast and over seas

The trip back to the states included the usual 3 consisting of California, Oklahoma and Florida. In order to catch up quickly I’m going to post some of my favorite photos that Matt and I snagged per state. 

As you can imagine, Oklahoma didn’t necessarily provide the best of landscape shots, but Matt was able to capture some wildlife that can easily be overlooked.

You know these lovely ladies, my cousins Lacie and Lana have made random appearences like Hot with a 92% chance of muggyFamily and treats in Oklahoma and Till next time Oklahoma! Check out these comparisons from a few years ago to now.

Moving on to California! Before Matt met me here, I was honored to attend a dear friends wedding. Now when I say “dear friend”, I mean a woman that has shown me the true definition of unconditional love and support. It makes my heart full of joy to see her so happy. Congrats to Liz and Katie! Ps, best Rockabilly wedding ever and a special thanks to my perfect date, Crystal! (you’ve seen her in Jumbled shinaniguns in California and 32 candles on 32 peddles!) Wedding bells put away and Matt finally arriving, it was time to venture around! Of course we hit my hometown of Folsom, but the highlight was Truckee and Lake Tahoe! Here are some of my favorite pictures he took with the rest shown on his site www.stonesharpimagesphotography.comThe Heavenly ski resort provides a gondola ride for all of their participants as well as non skiers to enjoy the epic view of Lake Tahoe. Shall we? We shall!

The above photo is looking back at the Lake and below is what you’ll see as the slow, smooth moving Gondola glides to the top.

Finishing up my visit to the US, I found myslelf all smiles with good ol’ mom. Although it really has nothing to do with this post I feel the need to list a few of my favorite writings that include moments with her. So if you’ve got the time for random reads, I invite you to visit the pasts posts of our time in Cental America when mom was brave enough to venture abroad with me in Puerto de la Libertad and Wrapping up our time in El Salvador. Or maybe you’d be interested in good cry today? Embrace yourself for Not just a dolphin tour, it seems to be a tear jerker.

Getting back to this post, I mainly just wanted to hit the highlights of music, beaches and friends… the perfect combo!

After soaking up time with family, friends and new acquaintances I flew to South Florida to meet back up with Matt.

Intermission: Turns out I traveled straight through the tornados of Atlanta and was held in the airport for two days. Here’s what the terminals look like at 2am with severe weather outside. After 8 canceled flights, 38 hours of wandering the airport and being 130 on the standby list… I finally made it! Our next flight and final stop is home (for now) being the beautiful island of Barbados! 

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7 reasons to ride a bike

1. For the health of it! Cardiovascular stimulation is a peice of the pie of fitness (did someone say pie? Mmmmm). Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who don’t exercise at all.

2. Breath of fresh air, ahhhh. So we don’t leave plastic bottles in the sun due to the cancer-causing toxins released, but what about the interior of your vehicle that bakes all day in the heat? We climb right into the chemical box and drive for hours.  Not to mention our poor environment and the fumes we inhale by simply starting the engine.  I vote to hit the trail and breathe the green.

3.Care to shed a few pounds?
Riding your bike for an hour burns anywhere from 400-700 calories an hour while sitting in your car or on the couch burns a whopping plate of boredom with a side of time to snack. I wonder how many calories you demolish by carrying your bike?

4. Sexy time! The Harvard University found that men over 50 years of age who cycle for at least three hours a week have a 30 percent lower risk of impotence than those who do little exercise. Keep it up! No pun intended.

5. Money hunny. According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as the lazy-o-man.

6. Light bulb! Illinois University found that a five percent increase in cardio fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests. That’s because cycling helps build new cells in the hippocampus (that funny named region of the brain responsible for memory). Say what?!

7. All the cool kids are doing it! Some of my most fond memories traveling abroad involve me, 2 wheels and happy people! 

Hayden, thanks for the unconditional support in my crazy lifestyle. You’re the type of person everyone wishes they had in their life. Champagne forts, bike rides, sushi love, stupid humor, the list goes on. You’re the best! Plus you always let me win shooting pool (side kiss wink face). So grateful you’re my boy… 

Next stop, Florida! 

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Did the bride just arrive in a Uhaul?

World meet Katie, one of my dearest of friends who started this wonderful journey of traveling with me many years ago. Our bus catching, airport sleeping, scary flight surviving, foreign language cherades playing was all prior to this blog. I will say however, it was a huge reason of why it all started. Here’s a fun collage to show you some of our smiles from Vegas to New York, Belize, Mexico and Costa Rica. Although I didn’t think it possible due to her stunning looks and hilarious sense of humor, this incredible woman has found her match. I’m sure Austin, the groom to be, would agree that none hold a candle to Katie’s unconditional way of nurturing those around her and her unstoppable ability to brighten every room. On this day they gathered with family and friends to share their new path as a married couple and I’m so grateful I was there to be a part of it! 

6:00am- Three of us girls arrived to the park with a Uhaul to start the set up. 


A motherly smile is always welcome. Thanks for helping Momma Cathy!

7:30a- I left and returned with a proper coffee for Ms.Katie (Despite the horns, she was one the most angelic Brides I’ve ever worked with). Her wishes: everyone has a good time, there’s enough champagne to go around and to jump in a bounce house with her gown on. 

I asked, “You ordered a bounce house?!” Her reply, “Nope, just something I’d like to do”.

8:15a- The rest of the female crew arrived to help prep the venue. Did I mention that Katie designed and produced her entire wedding from handmade crafts to personalized center pieces? She was so organized that she even drew out diagrams for each tables layout. No stress, just clear instructions made with love. Way to designate girl!

Fun proud fact- Katie asked me to draw her seat holder for the adorable wooden swing. Small job, but I was honored.  

9:20a- Decision was made…what pre-wedding moments would be complete without the offering of bubbles!?

11:15a- All done and heading back to the house for hair, makeup and possibly (most likely) another glass of bubbly.
Noon thirty- Just a quick hour later we returned to the park for all final touches before our bride took the stage. This tent was the official bridal headquarters as well as the starting point for sweet Katie to walk the isle.
  

1:30p- I’m left speechless as I watch this beautifully strong woman walk to expand her well deserved happiness. 


In most weddings, what follows is much rejoicing with food, drinks and (let’s admit) a little awkward socializing with semi-strangers. On this day, I looked around and noticed that all were laughing, smiling and for what I could see, truly enjoying one and another’s company… and the cupcakes.

Pssst (to be said in a whisper) notice that’s Hayden? He’s the one you’ll find in several posts around the world with me and that rugged ol’ blue backpack! 

 3:45p- Magic happened! Call it a gift from the universe, perfect timing, coincidence, a blessing… Whatever you want to classify it as… It happened! After lunch a child’s party unloaded right next to us with none other than a bounce house! Our bride got her wish.

How else does a glamorous woman in a gown and tiara enter a bounce house? Only like my girl would… no shame and head first. Katie, you’re the best!


The walk back was a highlite for me as I got to carry “sis”.  This doll is Katie’s daughter that I’ve unofficially adopted into my future plans of travels. I even bought Ava her first passport as my gift at the baby shower. Diapers? Nah… We have priorities. 

Austin,  I’m so grateful that my amazing friend took that random drink of your beer and even more thankful that not only did you laugh, you welcomed her magnetic charm to capture you for a lifetime. Katie, thanks for allowing us to share this special day. You are both quality energy. Love always!


So here it is. I’ve never been married, but I love love…everything about it! I’ve done uncountable amount of wedding hair, attended a large portion of the ceremonies and cry at about every one whether I know them personally or not. I squeal when my friends get engaged and look forward to the joy found at the receptions. Will I ever be a bride? Who knows. All I know is that here in the now, today… I celebrate what is love and the people around me filled with it! Cheers to the open road, a pure heart and a free spirit.

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A mirror selfie, really Erika?

Yup.  This solo photo and tiny post is for two main reasons.

#1 – For the friends and family that don’t have facebook or consistent contact with me.  Here’s an idea of how the end of each travel stretch usually looks like.  

#2 – For me.  In years to come, I’d like to look back and recall the way I felt standing there. So many emotions.

You may be able to recognize the exhaustion behind my eyes.  This comes from weeks of walking, drinking, laughing and minimal sleep that I barely acquired on floors, buses, trains and other random surfaces. You might also see the excitement in my smile to be heading west towards the friends and family who I miss dearly. I’m sure you also saw the random trash can behind me.  Just stating the obvious.

The necklace I have on was made by a kiwi that had moved to Santa Catalina Panama to sell her jewelry at Cafe La Buena Vida. The jacket was given to me by Denise in Amsterdam, I bought the shoes in New York City and snagged the scarf in The Netherlands (my original scarf and boots were taken off of a friends porch, hopefully by someone in greater need). The elephant bag in my hand is the replacement for the original one seen in Sisterhood of the traveling bag. It dubs as a grocery sac, airplane carry-on and my purse.

What you don’t see in the photo below is what’s in the bag on my back. There’s a used dirndl that I rolled up in cling wrap to make it as small as possible, a torn plastic bag stuffed with dirty socks and a pair of jeans that smelt like currywurst and beer.  Of course it also contains my toiletries, more clothes, a first aid kit and invisible bricks that make this thing feel like a bag of rocks at times.

Wouldn’t trade any of it.

 

Next stop in sunny(ish) California! I’ll be there for a quick visit with some incredible friends as I repack “Big Blue” (appropriately named by one of my favorite blog followers). You’ll notice my posts will be fewer in the upcoming weeks as my focus has turned towards preparing for the next glorious chapter. 

To be continued…

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32 candles on 32 peddles

For my birthday this year, my only request was laughter. Comedy, friends, music… Anything was acceptable as long as smiles were included! Solution? A 15 person bicycle!

Sac Brew Bike is a company located in Sacramento that provides a man powered bike that seats 15 plus a driver. The faster you peddle, the quicker you go. A professional driver (not me) takes your group to designated locations for each pit stop. Saddle up, buckle in and peddle away!

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Side note: The mustaches seen on most of us were grown within seconds using adhesive and slight pressure. More about that later.

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Leave it to me to underestimate the amount of super-friends that would show up rain or shine. With a bike that seats 15 and 18 amazing friends, I was fortunate that three of them had brought their own bikes to meet up with us. Thus, we now have a crew following the beast. I’m secretly thankful this happened as we took turns on the single bike which was just as much fun!

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Back to the staches… We were debating on superhero capes or party hats when my dear friend Liz simply helped the decision and suggested mustaches. Brilliant! You really can’t take yourself serious when rockin the fur below your nose.

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Here are some random photos taken at a few of the pubs. No captions needed…

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Dear birthday-cycle crew, you absolutely made this event most memorable and entertaining… Couldn’t have done it without you (literally, the bike wouldn’t of moved). The laughter and jokes with open minded, mustache wearing friends was exactly what I wished for. Thank you so much for trekking out in the rain and bringing your positive energy in addition. I love you all!

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The Raiders just keep on giving…

Since the Raiders lost during my “birthday” game (seen in “A day in silver and black”) it was felt to attend one more in high hopes for them to redeem themselves. Before I even try to drag this post out, let me just lay it out there. We got demolished. I mean, they generously sacrificed yet another win to allow the visiting team to feel welcome. I just can’t get over how unselfish the Oakland Raiders truly are!

Let’s make this post quick, fun and painless.

Instead of driving, Hayden and I decided to take the route that required no wheels. The first transfer required light rail, a regional transit system, from our home town of Folsom to the main Sacramento train station. Once arriving there, we hopped over to Amtrak that would take all the way to the Oakland colesium!

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Finally arriving to Oakland, we exited the tracks to cross a bridge before entering the sea of black and silver. Tailgaters are already in motion on this side of the gates! Can you spot the flag being carried under us?

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Trucks, food, friends and reunions. Yes please!

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Here are two sets of “last game/this game” photos.

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Football time! Today the Raiders are playing/donating a win to the Denver Broncos.

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Well look here… A foreign color sitting right next to me. Clearly he didn’t get the silver and black memo. Ooh, game on buddy!

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Lucky for Tom, his mustache and fun conversation made up for his choice of team.

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Here’s the last photo I took of the charitable event before we decided to beat the crowds back home.

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So when I say “beat the crowds”, what I meant was join the herd of like-minded fans.

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Waiting for the train… Game over.

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