I was born and raised in Los Angeles and yet, I had never driven down to Mexico. This past weekend, we made the 3-hour drive to Ensenada for our dear friend’s wedding and I’m fairly certain that my life is forever changed. In the same time it would take us to drive to Ojai, we were transported to a little slice of Mexican heaven packed with rustic scenery, delicious Baja cuisine and miles and miles of vineyards. Most are likely familiar with the Baja beach town, Ensenada but head inland into the valley and you’ll find Valle de Guadalupe a recently developed wine country where chefs and hoteliers have begun to set up shop. The area still feels relatively untapped, completely authentic, non-touristy and perfectly rustic.
When driving down, be sure to stop in Puerto Nuevo for lobster. There are a handful of restaurants on the coast in this tiny little town and each one will try to offer you the best deal. You can’t go wrong for $20 which will get you lobster, rice, beans, tortillas, guacamole and margaritas.
We stayed at Cuatro Cuatros, a heavenly glamping compound situated on a vineyard where each tent features your own private indoor/outdoor shower and the most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept on. The restaurant onsite (also housed in a tent) features delicious Mexican food where we’d dine on fresh-pressed green juice, coffee and huevos rancheros each morning. Take a trek up the hill to the awe-inspiring outdoor bar, Mirador, for the most spectacular views of the coast and sip wine that comes from the Cuatro Cuatros vineyard.
Driving into the valley can get confusing so I highly recommend taking taxis. Most streets are actually dirt roads (besides the main highway) and are not lit at night. You’ll wind down roads with no concept of time or space and then suddenly, you’re on a beautiful vineyard eating the most delicious food and you can’t help but feel like you’ve discovered the secret to life. Thanks to our gracious hosts, we spent our first night eating octopus tostadas, sliders and truffle fries from the Troika food truck while we drank wine under the twinkle lights at the Vena Cava Winery. The actual wedding took place at the restaurant Finca Altozano where the food was out of this world good.
Overall, the trip was so great that we now want to buy a vacation home in the valley! A girl can dream right?
Another year, another journey to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. In my opinion, there is no other place on this planet that compares to the beauty, essence, and purpose of Esalen. When I close my eyes and dream of my happy place, this is the place I envision. I can go on and on about it’s perfection, the people, the bodywork, the food or how I’m constantly trying to scheme up ways to live there but I’ll focus this post on this particular experience and the workshop I took.
For a little backstory, I try to visit Esalen once a year. The past trips included a relationship workshop on Wilhelm Reich and Awake In The Wild, a weekend workshop dedicated to meditation in nature with Marc Coleman. This year, I took Paul Selig‘s workshop , I Am The Word. While I highly recommend Marc’s workshop (you can’t go wrong with outdoor mediation in heaven), I can’t stress enough how insanely powerful I Am The Word was. Paul is a channel and an empath; meaning, he channels his guides to deliver teachings and also works one-on-one to deliver highly intuitive, emotional readings. Maybe you’ve heard of Edgar Cayce or you’ve read the Abraham Hicks books – this is the same method of work. Enlightening knowledge simply pours out of Paul when he channels. To witness Paul work, is to witness true wonder and magic. I wouldn’t believe it, unless I saw it, but Paul’s eyes even changed color when he worked! The energy in the room was palpable and I can honestly say that I left this workshop a different person. Thank you Paul, thank you Esalen and thank you to the friends I made for sending me home a happier, more blissed-out person. I’d even venture to say that the entire weekend made my personal Top 5 Life Experiences list. Real energy was moved and I can’t wait to attend Paul’s workshop next year.
If you’re interested in Paul’s work, I recommend reading his books. Each one is the unedited transcript from channeled sessions with his guides. Also, if you can’t make it to Esalen (which is a shame), you can attend one of Paul’s workshops around the world. Check out his website for more details.
Side note – if you’re driving to Big Sur from Southern California, you have to pit stop at Centrally Grown in Cambria. The garden/farm/restaurant/bar/marketplace is located right off the 1 highway and it’s a little slice of bliss. I highly recommend the sandwiches from the marketplace and you can enjoy a nice ocean view while you dine. Trust me, you’re welcome!
Pharo’s Burgers is in Alhambra, off of Garfield and Atlantic, riiiight across the street from an In N Out that always has a line around the block. (Pharo’s was actually spotted and added to my list while waiting in said In N Out line.) I’m not gonna lie, the burger was only so-so. Definitely not much compared to what you can get across the street for a little more waiting in a line. But the chili cheese fries? Yea. Those you should definitley check out. Perfectly spicy, cheesy amazing goodness for $5. As you can see below, I barely touched the double cheeseburger, but those fries were gone in no time. I suggest next time you find yourself in the eternal In N Out line in Alhambra, send your passenger out for a little chili cheese fry starter ;) xo Cait
Lucky Boy is a walk-up/take out spot off of S. Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. Fun fact: It is right across the street from where the VERY FIRST Trader Joe’s opened in 1967 and still stands today!
Their burgers have thin patties, lots of chargrilled flavor and that good old shredded lettuce. Add in the biggest bag of fried zucchini you’ve ever seen and plan to be full for a good day and a half. The double cheeseburger is pictured here, but I’ve also had a damn good bacon burger in the past. And from what I can see written up about them online, it sounds like their breakfast burritos are some of the best around!! I guess we’ll just haaaaaave to go back!! xoCait
I’ve been to In N Out countless times, but it just never seems to get old. The double-double is one of my absolute favorite burgers around. It’s no hidden gem, sure. But they are reliably delicious, affordable and usually pretty quick! (If you live near one and have not been, then you are certifiably crazy, and you should go, right now.)
THIS TIME AROUND WAS DIFFERENT THOUGH. I decided that if I was going to blog about it, I should go big, and get the 4×4. Yep. You heard it. 4 patties & 4 slices of cheeeeese, please! When our ‘Guest Number’ came up as ’44’ I knew it was meant to be.
I love me some In N Out, but I gotta say, I wouldn’t do the 4×4 again. Too much meat. I think maybe a 3×3 would be the way to go? UNTIL NEXT TIME! xoCait
I first fell in love with Stone + Cloth at Unique LA where local artisans showcase their goods for a weekend of shopping bliss . Stone + Cloth make rucksacks and totes. You can feel the ruggedness and durability in each bag, plus, they simply look great. The best part? Each purchase helps provide scholarships to students in need through The Knock Foundation.
Carney’s will always be a special place to me. Yes, Carney’s, the hot dog slinging train car on Sunset Strip. It was one of the first restaurants in Los Angeles that I fell in love with. Why?
1. Delicious food at affordable prices 2. They have been serving the same thing, in that same spot since 1975 and 3. it’s proven to cure even the worst of my bad moods (and hangovers).
I suggest going with a friend. Each of you order a hot dog. And split a cheeseburger and fries. You can’t lose. xo Cait
Astro Burger. Surprisingly enough, there are A LOT of Astro Burgers in Los Angeles. The two that I frequent, and can attest to the delight they will bring you, are this ONE on Melrose and this ONE on Santa Monica Blvd. I thought they were part of the same chain, but after checking the internetz, it doesn’t seem like they are? Strange.
Both establishments are awesome. Both have the delicious fried zucchini pictured below. Both have shredded lettuce on their burgers. And both have lots of veggie options for your burger-hating friends!! xo Cait
Sam and I are fortunate enough to run with a tight knit crew of super talented, beautiful and powerful ladies here in Los Angeles. We get together often and chat daily. We are family. I’m truly lucky to have such a group of supportive, awesome women in my life. A few Sundays ago, we celebrated a little with our annual family photoshoot and some volunteering for the Downtown LA Women’s Center…
WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN: PART 1
When the opportunity arose to do some “good” together, we jumped at the chance. The “Snack Pack” program through the LA Women’s Center was an easy, inexpensive and effective way for us to help less fortunate women in our local community. We bought enough food to fill 90 lunch sacks, each with a PB & J sandwich, bottled water, fruit, string cheese & granola bar. (The Center provides you with ‘menu guidelines’ for the sacks.) Then we got together to assemble them. I dropped them off at 2:30pm at the Center in Downtown’s Skid Row, and it was as simple as that! They were promptly handed out as a to-go dinner that the women can bring with them to wait in line for a bed at one of the other shelters for the night. Oftentimes a person that waits in line for a meal at dinnertime misses their chance to get in another line for a bed for the night. And honestly, that’s a choice no one should have to make.
Hi Charlie Girl. I see you peeking over Mommy’s shoulder! Something like this is an easy, fun way to get the kids involved with volunteering too. Ours were still a little young still for the job, but hey, they can claim they’ve been volunteering since birth on their college applications!
This is definitely something we will be doing a few times a year. Hopefully next time we can get more people involved and add more snacks to the bag! If you are interested in doing something like this yourself, contact the Center here!
WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN: PART 2
As an artist and photographer, I’ve always been inspired by strong, independent women and fascinated by the various ever-changing roles all of us ladies play everyday. And I regularly make this particular group of ladies model for me. They are always game to get dressed up and have a little fun, thank goodness. Usually there’s some sort of crazy costume or theme I have in mind, but this time, I wanted to celebrate us, as us. An annual portrait.
It’s funny how hard it can be for me, who would rather be behind the camera or covered in makeup and a wig, to take studio portraits. But I think they came out great. And I know they’ll look even better to me when I’m 70. xoCait