Exploring Valle de Guadalupe in Ensenada, Mexico

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Overall, the trip was so great that we now want to buy a vacation home in the valley! A girl can dream right?

 

 

Heaven On Earth: Esalen, Big Sur

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Healing Matters: Sound Bath Training

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Sound Baths- where to begin? Just the thought of the intricate overtones and frequencies that you experience during a sound bath makes me giddy. A sound bath is the experience of sound and vibration that’s played as an improvised concert. You are literally bathed in the vibrations from the planetary gongs and crystal bowls. Music and dance are my church, so it’s no surprise that I would be so drawn to the healing modalities of sound. Sound healing means “coming back into tune”. If you live in an urban city (like I do) then you’re constantly surrounded by stressful frequencies like cell phones, radio waves, traffic, chatter, stimulation, noise and the like. As individuals, our nervous system will entrain with the frequencies around us and all of this commotion can affect our moods, sleep, energy, thoughts and the like. Therefore, the theory behind a sound bath is to tune us to a higher frequency, open our right brains (the creative side) and ground us to a state of “om”.

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This is Jamie Ford and she is a sound bath goddess. I first attended one of her sound bath events at Yogala in Echo Park. I couldn’t believe how powerful and intense the experience was. I had never felt sound like this before, it was as if I could hear the entire universe moving. I immediately wanted to learn more, and not just learn, but play these powerful instruments.

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Fast forward through pregnancy, birth and newborn phase, I was ready to take a class with Jamie. My dear friend, Kristen Huffman, had attended one of Jamie’s Integratron retreats and immediately jumped on the opportunity for a 1:1 session with Jamie.

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Oh what a powerful experience it was!

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Words can’t even describe the immense power you feel from the sound generated from the gongs, bowls and tuning forks. Did I mentioned that the gongs and the forks are tuned to the frequencies omitted by the orbits of the planets & moons in our universe? Playing these gongs literally feels like you’re standing at the precipice of the universe while each speaks to you.

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After the session was over, my entire being felt lighter, brighter and focused. I can’t wait to learn more and start to amass my little collection. First up, I’d like to find a 14″ crystal bowl tuned to G#…

 

 

Burgertime at Top Round

topround3-e1371508730478Time for another entry in the Burgertime Chronicles. This week it’s Top Round at the corner on La Brea at Olympic. A fast food joint started by “chefs and fine food fanatics who wanted to make real, tasty food, fast.” It’s pretty much a glorified Arby’s, but much fresher… And yes, it is more of a roast beef sandwich than a burger, but I make the rules here, so it qualifies. It was one of those that I kept driving by and thinking to myself, that place is kind of adorable. I have to go to there. And it delivered. I’m a fan of the basic Beef and Cheese (and by cheese I mean homemade cheeeeze ‘wizz’) with a frozen custard ‘concrete style’ meaning with the toppings mixed in (think Dairy Queen blizzard). I’ve now been here multiple times and always left happy.
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New Product: Belly Butter

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41 weeks of pregnancy, one 7 lbs baby boy later and no stretch marks! It’s been a long time coming but we’re so excited to share The Peacock Apothecary’s Belly Butter with all the expectant moms out there. I religiously used this formula all over my body while pregnant, and I continued to use it after birth. It’s safe and clean to use while growing a little human and don’t forget about all the other areas that grow on the pregnant body (I’m looking at you thighs, butt and of course, breasts). Jojoba and shea butter are compatible with human sebum and quickly melt into the skin’s layers to relive itchy, stretching skin while deeply moisturizing. The blend of essential oils and rose hip seed oil help to regenerate the skin, combatting stretch marks while healing minor cuts and abrasions. As always, each batch is blended by hand using the highest quality oils that we can find. To order, please visit our Etsy Store.

Mindful Baby Products for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Our modern world is full of toxins and nutrient-poor food which is why it’s more important than ever to be conscious and thoughtful about the products and foods we introduce to our most precious, yet vulnerable little babies. The rise in Contemporary Chronic Childhood conditions (aka the 3Cs) like autism, allergies, ADD, mood disorders, digestive disorders, tooth decay, cancer, obesity etc. are directly caused by the rise of toxins and nutrient-poor foods that cripple many areas of the body. As a new parent, I try my hardest to be discerning when it comes to baby products and I try to maintain that same mindset that I apply to skincare and food. Below is a short list of some of the essentials that we just can’t live without:

1. Sage Spoonfuls Glass Jars – It seems like all baby products today are made from plastic so when there’s a glass or wood option, please choose these! Glass is always the healthier choice, especially when it comes to food and milk. Plastic leaches toxic chemicals including estrogen. For an eye opening read that will inspire you to overhaul your kitchen, please click here. When I make my weekly batches of baby food, I use these jars to portion our all serving. I leave two jars in the fridge and then I store the rest in the freezer.

2. Baltic Amber Teething Necklace  – Just when you think you’ve found your groove, your little one begins teething. There’s little relief, and we’ve found that frozen watermelon juice popsicles and his amber necklace help with the pain. Please note that these necklaces are meant for wearing and not chewing. We prefer to wrap the necklace around his ankle when he sleeps at night.

3. Mothers Lil Helper Odor and Stain Remover – This cleaner is a miracle worker. It’s a non-toxic, natural liquid enzyme that organically removes stains and odors and is safe to use on any surface that can be cleaned with water. I’ve used this all-purpose cleaner on everything you can imagine, plus, it’s safe for use around pets and children.

4. Life Factory Bottles – I can’t stress enough: glass, glass, glass.

5. Holle Organic Baby Formula – Breast is always best and despite returning to work, I’ve managed to maintain the breastfeeding for the past 8 months. Unfortunately, a business trip to Austin depleted my frozen stash so I needed a back up option for daycare (just in case he’s still hungry). In my opinion, there’s no formula that can come close to the nutrition that breast milk offers but I did my research and Holle Organic Baby Formula was the only one that I felt comfortable using; it’s a German company where the organic rules and regulations are much stricter than the US. Unfortunately, it’s not readily available in the US, so I order it through Amazon. For a more comprehensive read and the reason I chose this brand, please click here.

6. Water Wipes –  I love these wipes because they are 99.9% water with just a drop of grapefruit seed extract. They’re simple without any harsh chemicals.

7. Infant Probiotics – I had to take antibiotics during labor so I made the decision to start Finn on probiotics from the start. Designed specifically for infants, Natren’s Life Start probiotic supports the gastrointestinal system and creates a healthy digestive environment. When you have a healthy digestive system, you absorb more nutrients which leads to better brain development. Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? Create the best environment possible.

Recipe: Banana Plum Purée for Infants

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See that face, that basically sums up our experience with the transition from breast milk to purées. I guess I was naive to think that it would be this easy process where he’d be chomping at the bit for more, more, more. Instead of starting Finn on rice cereal, we opted for fruit and veggie purées.  Rice cereal is so overly processed and void of real nutritional value that I just couldn’t bring myself to have THAT be his first step into the world of food. We began our journey with homemade applesauce. Too afraid to venture away from single ingredient purées, his first few meals consisted of peas, butternut squash, avocado, and the like. Each bite must have been the most bizarre experience for Finn because we got a lot of feedback that looked like the above picture. He was tasting sweet, sour and bitter for the first time all delivered by a totally new texture. Learning to chew and swallow was another new lesson to learn. After about 3 weeks of fighting the good food fight, we started to make some progress. Finn was finally getting the hang of this whole eating thing.

By 7 months, I decided to throw caution to the wind and actually start to show him what real food should taste like. I began to experiment with flavor combinations that combined healthy fats and seasonings. Babies need lots of healthy fats which help develop those delicious thigh rolls. Coconut oil, egg yolk with sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla, olive oil – all of these flavors I hope will lead to a well-versed palette, and, fingers crossed we can hopefully avoid a picky eater.

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Recipe: Banana Plum Purée 

Ingredients:

5 organic plums
3 organic bananas
1 tablespoon organic, cold-pressed coconut oil
1 vanilla bean (insides scraped)

Boil a pot of water. While waiting for the water to boil, carve an “X” into the skin at the bottom of each plum. Once the water boils, drop each plum into the pot and wait about a minute. You should start to notice that the peel begins to separate from the meat of the fruit where you sliced an “X”. Remove the plums and run under cold water. Once cool, peel off the skin of each plum and cut the meat away from the pit. Drop the plum meat into a blender or food processor with the bananas, coconut oil and the scraped vanilla bean seeds. Blend on high until you have a smooth purée. Feel free to add a little water to reach the desired consistency. Portion out servings in glass containers. I put 2 in the fridge and then I freeze the rest for later.

Nutritional Benefits

Plums are an incredibly rich source of vitamin C that aids the absorption of Iron which is crucial for development after the age of 6 months. Plus, vitamin C help boost those developing immune systems. Plums are also a great source of vitamin A which helps promotes healthy vision and bone growth.

Bananas are a power food that are rich in potassium and vitamins B6, B2 and C. And, a little trick of the trade: they’re known to settle upset tummies. Plus, they add that creamy texture with a touch of sweetness to any purée.

I am a HUGE supporter of all things coconut oil and you’ll often find this incredible oil in many of our skincare products. Coconut oil adds a nice tropical flavor, plus, it’s a great source of healthy fatty acids.

x

Sam

 

Hello 30

To My Twenties,

We had some good times together and I’ll always have the memories but it’s time to say farewell. It’s unreal to think how much a person can change in one decade. Debauchery gives way to maturity and bedtime slowly changes from 3am to 10pm. Add a husband, a dog and a child to the mix and I’m now that person I used to imagine becoming when I was a little girl. When figuring out how to welcome in the new decade, the thought of throwing a party or going out to a bar just didn’t feel right. I needed a new plan, something that was more reflective of my thirties. The answer: High Tea at The Peninsula. My 24-year-old self would roll her eyes at the thought of celebrating a big birthday over tea but the whole event was perfect. Dressed in our best we sipped tea and champagne (apple cider for the expecting moms) with strawberries and cream. After, we grazed on scones topped with lemon curd and ate bite sized finger sandwiches and pastries. Now all I can hope is that my thirties are like high tea, filled with refinement and finger foods served on bone china.

 

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