Uncategorized

How to Enjoy a Family Trip to Los Angeles (On a Budget!)

*I’m not affiliated with any of the attractions listed- I just enjoy them 🙂

Los Angeles is notoriously expensive.

Having children is notoriously expensive.

Mix the two and you may find yourself on a vacation that drains all the piggy banks.

Being a resident of the Los Angeles area, and having a child that likes to occasionally leave our house, I’ve been forced to find fun adventures that don’t make me choose between recreation, and my monthly contribution to my son’s college savings account.

These are my top ten budget-friendly “fun stops” in Los Angeles (not necessarily in order of awesomeness- they’re just all so good.)

1. Huntington Gardens

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Photo Credit: GENE

Growing up in Pasadena, this was a go-to when friends or family came to visit. This nature extravaganza has twelve gardens and 15,000 plant varieties. Engage the kiddos by creating your own “I Spy Scavenger Hunt” with the massive variety of plant life. Oh, and they have a Free Day the first Thursday of every month! To take advantage, you must reserve your tickets in advance. Click here for more information.

2. Camping At a State Park

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Affordable lodging (that’s pleasant) is hard to come by in Los Angeles. The state parks located on the Pacific Coast Highway offer beautiful camping options and are across the street from fabulous beaches. My favorite is Leo Carrillo- it’s a go-to surf spot for locals and offers fun tide pool exploration during low tide. A short drive from Santa Monica this camp spot offers the charm of nature while being convenient to the city.

3. Beaches

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I’ve never been to a beach I didn’t enjoy in Los Angeles. And if the surf is good you’ll be treated to views of world-class surfers performing incomprehensible moves on the waves. Pack plenty of food, water, shade, sunscreen and toys so you can play all day.

4. Grammy Museum

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth The

This interactive museum allows guests to make their own tunes, listen to music from multiple generations and view famous items like Michael Jackson’s Thriller varsity jacket. The intention of the museum is to educate guests about the history and cultural significance of American music, while encouraging younger generations to explore new forms of music, that are influenced by the past.

5. Grauman’s Chinese Theater

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Photo Credit: Jose Pestana

Ultimate old-school Hollywood baby. This is where you’ll find the stars (gold stars in the ground- not Leonardo DiCaprio with a Free Hugs sign) and famous handprints in cement. This area of Hollywood has had a major facelift and now offers a glimpse into classic Hollywood- versus seedy Hollywood.

6. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

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Photo Credit: Kevin Rosales

Did you know there’s natural asphalt seeping up through the ground in the middle of LA? Yup. When my brother was a toddler he made my mom take him to these tar pits every week. Every. Week. And I don’t blame him- it’s an incredible sight, especially for those enamored by the ice age. The pits have (fake) animals trying to escape the grip of the pits and the attached museum showcases various ice age fossils extracted from this area.

7. Griffith Observatory

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Photo Credit: Alex Stone

This is where you go if you want to explore the cosmos- or get some amazing photos of Los Angeles, and the Hollywood sign. You’re able to look through state-of-the-art telescopes, roam through planetary exhibits and (for those over the age of five) view mind-blowing live shows in the planetarium.

8. Getty Museum

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Photo Credit: Ayleen Gaspar

This art museum is perched above Los Angeles and offers views-galore. The structure itself is a piece of art, and the gardens and grassy lawn are a fun place for the kids to explore while the adults (with the exception of the supervising adult!) explore the current exhibits.

9. Santa Monica Beach Bike Rentals

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Photo Credit: David Jones

 

Rent a few bikes (and a kid’s bicycle trailer seat for the little ones) and ride a portion of the 22 mile Marvin Braude bike trail running through the beaches of Santa Monica. You’ll get a tour of Venice Beach and can stop off at the pier for a few carnival rides.

10. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

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Photo Credit: Smart Destinations

While you’re in Santa Monica, why not visit some of its natives? This aquarium, whose motto is “When we heal the Earth, we heal ourselves” is home to over 100 species of marine life and offers special events every day of the week- with the exception of Monday, that’s when the animals take their day off.

Extra Tip: Many of these stops allow you to bring in your own food and drink, which I highly recommend. Spending $10 on a bottle of water and mini-bag of chips is not fun. 

*To work on your budgeting skills (I’m talking to myself here) check out Personal Capital who provide free financial software to help clients manage assets and investments. Continue reading “How to Enjoy a Family Trip to Los Angeles (On a Budget!)”

Childbirth, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Pregnancy Bagua Map

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Toying around with a “pregnancy version” of a feng shui bagua map for the Feng Shui Mommy book 🙂 A work in progress, but having fun mixing the harmony of this ancient Chinese art into the magic of pregnancy and childbirth.

Oh, are you wondering what the heck a bagua map is? The bagua map (BAH-gwa) is a tool used in feng shui to learn which parts of a space correlate with particular areas of life.

My version helps you learn what areas of your life to nurture during different stages of your journey into motherhood. 

You begin your journey in the watery North (1st trimester), explore the woods of the East (2nd trimester), absorb the warmth of the South (3rd trimester), then slide into the cool landscape of the West (4th trimester.)

At the center of it all is the grounding presence of the Earth, which holds the power to harmonize the light and dark moments of your journey (yin and yang.)

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Self Love, Uncategorized

9 Ways to Bond With Your Unborn Baby

IMG_0978Are you nervous at the prospect of birthing a stranger? Sure, you love the little nugget floating in your uterus, but do you feel like you know them?

When I was pregnant, I had serious doubts about my ability to “do parenting well.” I felt wholly unprepared and feared the big P-D: postpartum depression.

Because I have control freak tendencies, I became consumed with putting in bonding work before my son was born — I had a deep need to get to know him before he was put in my arms.

Many of the following prenatal bonding activities are practiced in the HypnoBirthing (Mongan Method) childbirth preparation classes I teach, and some are pulled from my personal tinkering.

Read more on Babble!

Guilt & Forgiveness, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Uncategorized

I Was Bullied at 13, and I’m Just Now Dealing With the Damage It Did

My heart crumbled when I watched the older boy shove him down, grab his toy, and run away with the other children. My son’s lip puffed out, then was immediately sucked in and bit down on as he balled up his tiny body and fought back tears. I rushed over to him as I pushed down my own ball of tears lodging itself in my throat.

I wrapped my arms around my son and rocked him, feeling so helpless and triggered by my own memories of rejection.

Then, the little boy who had pushed him down returned, handed my son his toy and asked him if he wanted to kick a ball. My tiny man hopped up smiling and ran after the boy howling the toddler cry-of-joy.

I stayed on the grass, continuing to rock myself.

Read more on Babble

Mind-Body-Spirit, Uncategorized

How to Release Emotional Attachments to Stuff- Online Course

Hey friends!

I have a new online course launching on Daily OM April 5th, but you can jump on it now if you’re into it 🙂

Here’s a peek into what it’s all about. 

This is an 8 week on-line course available from Bailey Gaddis. We will email you when your new lesson is available and you will be able to login and read each lesson on-line or print as they become available and click to listen to the guided audio meditations. Your first lesson will be available immediately after you enroll. 

Would you like your home to be organized, serene and inviting? Do you yearn for a simple and lasting method of organization? How would you feel if your inner environment mirrored your peaceful outer environment?

Many of us can muster the willpower to spend a weekend organizing our home, but what often happens is we quickly slip back into old habits, and the evidence of our hard work dissipates. When we learn how to make the process of creating and maintaining an organized home and life second nature, the weight of the struggle is lifted, and lasting change is established.

Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, the state of your external environment has a profound effect on your internal environment, and vice versa. To create a positive exchange of energy between your inner and outer worlds we must work with them in unison to achieve harmony. Consciously bridging these two worlds will ease the practice of releasing unneeded items, dissolving negative shopping and organizing habits, and discovering the specific methods of organization that work best for your unique needs.

This course will take you the through the gentle process of tuning into this connection and harnessing its power to create a home you love spending time in, because it nourishes you- mind, body and spirit.

Over an eight-week period this course will take you through the following journey, utilizing text and 5 minute guided meditations:

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

* How to examine your emotional relationship to physical belongings.

* Explore what really makes you happy- and how to get more of it.

* Tap into the energy of your home, and learn how to harmonize it with the energy within you.

* How to work through the four stages of organizing- Sort, Purge, Organize, and Maintain

* Learn to integrate your new self with your new home, through blessings.

* How to continuously find center within your self and home, while moving through the eternal flux of life.

* Figure out how to motivate your housemates to join in the transformations!

You can dive into it for as little as $10! Woot woot!

Travel, Uncategorized

Food Lover’s Guide to Austin, Texas

Photo: Jeremy KeithPhoto Credit: Jeremy Keith

If Austin, Texas were a perfume it would smell like barbeque, with an undertone of breakfast tacos and craft beer.

I was going to write a “Best Places to Eat In Austin” article, but that would be impossible, seeing as there are hundreds of “best” places to eat in my wacky hometown.

This is a tiny sprinkle of Austin eateries that will leave you fat, happy and searching for more.

Read more on Flight Network!

Career, Self Love, Uncategorized

How a Mismatched Job Experience Helped Me Find My Courage

I was paid good money to talk to myself on national television about a topic I knew nothing about for four hours, a few times a week (and not have a panic attack).

I was 21 years old living in Austin, Texas working as a student/actress. Acting opportunities were slim (and pretty much all unpaid), so when a friend who was a cameraman for The Jewelry Channel asked me if he could pass my headshot on to his boss-man, I said heck yes — not expecting anything to come of it. I had no hosting experience and only owned costume jewelry.

Three weeks later I received a call from a chipper middle-aged man asking me to come in for an interview.

“Um… OK?”

Because I was 21, I obviously stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before the interview drinking with my boyfriend. I woke up late, showered off the booze, guzzled coffee, and showed for the interview 20 minutes late. Winning?

Read more on Huff Post!

Travel, Uncategorized

How to Enjoy a Trip to Mammoth Lakes (With Kids!)

IMG_6496The snow reminds me that Mother Nature has not completely forgotten to give us water.

The fresh air reminds me to breathe.

The cozy cabin reminds me to bond.

And the fireplace reminds me to drink something hot and sweet (with Baileys in it?).

My family travels to Mammoth Mountain many times a year, taking a grateful sigh of relief when we see the jagged outline of the Minarets, looming behind Mammoth Mountain — our welcoming committee.

Ten minutes later, we turn off the highway and cruise into the chic, yet cozy, Mammoth Lakes village.

The town is intentionally kept quaint, but has an obvious layer of modern influences and a thriving youth culture.

Read more on Huff Post!

Mind-Body-Spirit, Self Love, Uncategorized

9 Amazing Things That Happen When Adults Start Coloring

IMG_7324Coloring in the outline of a trendy owl will make you a better person.

The hardest part of coloring is starting. My initial thoughts, upon setting my adult coloring book and colored pencils on my little TV tray, was, “Shouldn’t I be doing something more adult? Like scrubbing a toilet? Eh, it says ‘adult’ on the book so I’m good. But what if I suck at coloring inside the lines? Embarrassing.”

And then I started and didn’t look up for two hours (except to get a glass of wine, because wine makes you better at coloring). Here’s what will happen when you start.

  1. You slip into a vortex known as “the zone.”

And it feels amazing. Instead of grubbing on a tub of frozen sugar or binge-watching Bravo, you can make your escape through a classic childhood pastime. The zone (sometimes known as hypnosis) feels so fabulous, it’s like an emotional massage.

Read more at YourTango!

Childbirth, Mind-Body-Spirit, Uncategorized

8 Truths About Having a HypnoBirth

IMG_1238It’s basically like creating your own personal fantasyland.

The idea of pushing a human out of the vagina is incomprehensible, even if you’ve already done it. The foreign woods between pregnancy and the postpartum experience, childbirth, are a fantasy land where the body, mind, and spirit are pushed past their limits to a space where they’re floating in timeless (sometimes painless) amnesia.

If you’re having a natural birth, without the aid of a childbirth preparation method, you must move through the bowels of pain before you reach the fantasy land.

If you’re having an assisted birth, sans childbirth preparation tools, you must wait for the needle to be injected before you flow into the fantasy land.

If you’re having a hypnobirth, you create your own fantasyland and get yourself there as soon as possible.

hypnobirth consists of mixing the ins and outs (emphasis on “out”) of traditional childbirth preparation, like conscious breathing, uterus and perineum education, and how to not pulverize the birthing partner emotionally or physically, with the real gems like affirmations, visualization, and the crown jewel: self-hypnosis.

Read more at YourTango!

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

How to Stall Labor Interventions

Many doctors have places to go and other patients to see, so they like to move things along. But guess what: if you’re pregnant, you’re not sick — you’re not even a patient. You are a client of the doctor, moving through a natural and extraordinary transition in life. If you choose to accept a bit of intervention during the birthing process because you feel it is the right choice, I think that’s great.

As a doula, my frustration enters when interventions are pushed on women that do not want them — women who are comfortable and content with the progression of their labor, but have overzealous care providers pushing unnecessary needles, apparatuses, and drugs on them because the care provider wants to “get that baby out” pronto.

I don’t believe these care providers push medical assistance on birthing women to complicate their situation; I believe they do it because it’s what they know, and it’s what they were trained for. Many obstetricians who practice in hospitals were primarily educated to manage births that are flush with special circumstances — and that’s fabulous, I’m so grateful women who need that specialized care can receive it.

Read more on Babble! 

Pregnancy, Travel, Uncategorized

The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Disney World

wd032wdw2015091212907179Are you pregnant? Do you like to tap into your childlike wonder? Do you enjoy the occasional giant cookie and churro? Perfect. You’re going to love Disney World.

You may not be able to free fall in the Tower of Terror, but you can still get your kicks on Safari (with real animals!), watch Broadway-level performers flip around while belting out a Disney ditty, or quell your pregnancy hot flashes in cool and comfy capsules that transport you through the Haunted Mansion.

Come to think of it, all of my favorite attractions (and the attractions my toddler can attend) are all pregnant lady-approved.

But before you hop on a ride …

Read more at Babble!

Childbirth, Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Self Love, Uncategorized

Why I Celebrate My Honest Postpartum Body

IMG_1436Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her she’s perfect. Tell her she deserves to feel at home in her body.

Remember the ditty “Do Your Ears Hang Low”? Well… Do your boobs sag down, do they jiggle to and fro? Do they swing to the right and then reach down to the floor?  Mine do. At least, I think they’re mine.

The postpartum boob transformation occurred quicker than the flick of a baby finger. My old breasts were small, perky, and fluid-free. These new things attached to my chest are droopy bags, albeit fabulous droopy bags. They fill with and distribute milk, but they’re just so different and devoid of perkiness.

And “my” stomach — where did that come from? It’s flattish, wide, and different. It’s so different from the stomach I came to know so well. Come to think of it, the only parts of my naked postpartum body I recognize are my knee caps. They’re not saggy … yet.

Read more at YourTango!

Guilt & Forgiveness, Mind-Body-Spirit, Uncategorized

How We Deal With Post-Baby Sex Guilt

IMG_5627Having a baby sent a surprising jolt through my sex life. I was expecting that aspect of my life to be as dry as the Mohave until my child left for college, but I was wrong.

Sex became a forbidden fruit I constantly craved. The strange sex dreams pregnant women often have started for me after the baby came out.

Before the baby, sex was a daily staple in our relationship. It was lovely and relaxing–and it was totally expected. Throughout pregnancy it did slow down a bit, but could still be done on a whim and without limits, with the exception of my protruding belly.

The constraints of a baby spiced things up and taught us to pre-plan our sexcapades, which was actually sexy. And while the anticipation was delicious, there was also another feeling: guilt. The guilt was horrible.

Read more at Good Housekeeping!

Uncategorized

11 Things You Never Thanked Your Grandmother For

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Total badass. Love her.

Is your Grandmother cooler than you? Mine is.

Who doesn’t love a trip to Grandma’s house? The presence of a grandmother (even if she’s not your own) is nurturing, grounding, and full of random bouts of wisdom. There are so many gems grandmothers offer, and we often forget or never get a chance to thank them for all the goodness they bring to life.

One of my grandmothers passed away many years ago, leaving a trail of love, laughter, and greatly-appreciated kookiness in her wake. The other one is still partying and creating serious change across the United States via Amtrak trains. They’re the epitome of badass.

If your granny is still around, call her up and thank her for the following. She’ll brush it off with her old school humility, but it will warm her heart.

Read more on YourTango!