JUNE 2016

We have wanted to explore the Bay of LA for a long time so we decided to take a week off, pack up our inflatable boat and hit the road. June in Baja is usually very hot with really warm water in the Sea of Cortez. So this is exactly what we were expecting and unfortunately not what we got. The water was cold, not mildly cold but the kind where you can only last 5 minutes without hypothermia cold. And although it was warm it was very windy, so I would not say it was even close to being hot. Luckily it is beautiful in the Bay of LA and there is a lot to explore. Because of this we decided to hop around, by strapping our inflatable to the roof of my suburu and hoping for the best. This did give us the ability to check out different camping spots but it also gave us a few holes in our boat, which thankfully we were able to find and patch. We were also excited to take my all wheel drive on some of the dirt roads into some of the more remote bays, however when you are weighted down with a motor, tons of gas, a boat and all of your camping gear this may not be the best idea. But we went for it, and got stuck in the sand about 4 miles from this magical bay. We did get out and decided not to risk the last stretch. Luck just didn’t seem to be on our side this trip but that still didn’t deter us from exploring, fishing and getting to know the areas around LA Bay. And after all of these little frustrations, we can’t wait to go back but the next time we decided that we’ll bring a bigger boat along for the journey.



APRIL 2016

We finally got out to Utah this spring to explore Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and I fell in love. We were immediately greeted by Big Horned Sheep in Zion while hitching a ride to the trailhead our first morning there. The hikes were stunning and highly recommended, the East Rim trail to Observation Point and then Angel’s Landing (first thing in the morning before the crowds). We only had a few days there so we tried to make the most of it and we were not disappointed. But we agreed that the next time we go we will dedicate more time to exploring this park. After Zion, we headed over to Bryce Canyon, and to our surprise there were no crowds because of the colder weather. We got to spend some quality time with the hoodoos, observe some prairie dogs and we even ran into a pack of pronghorn. We capped off this adventure with some spring skiing in Brian Head. It was the perfect Utah get away.



MARCH 2016

This was my first time in Central America… we went to Las Penitas for a surf trip with two of our good friends. Unfortunately my time spent there was fighting off the flu and not doing much surfing. But Nicaragua is a beautiful country and Las Penitas was a perfect little beach town with an extremely nice community of people. The others got plenty of surf time in, and we also got to go on a mangrove tour via panga and we got to check out Leon during the easter holiday (and some really cool sawdust art!). Overall it was a great trip, but the next time I find myself down there I hope to be in full health.



Working with glass has always scared me, but my husband finally motivated me to conquer my fear and signed me up for a stained glass class. Our first project was a fused/stained glass window. This project allowed me to understand how to work with glass (correctly) and got me excited for future projects.





We tried a new kind of backpacking trip, on our dirt bikes. Our bikes allowed us to explore the many dirt roads within the Anza Borrego limits. This area is incredibly beautiful and there is so much to see whether on bike or on foot. We are very lucky to have a place like this right in our backyard.




We had a wedding in the Bay Area this September, so we decided to take a week off and road trip up north. We also decided to hit up Yosemite (finally!) since I have been in California for 6.5 years and I have yet to lay eyes on Yosemite’s massive walls of granite. I was really excited.

To start off this adventure, we spent our first night in Lone Pine, camping at Tuttle Creek. From there we went on to Bishop to visit friends and do some bouldering. Next up, we drove to Saddle Bag Lake Campground. This leg of our trip involved Mt. Conness, a 12,589 ft peak located in the Inyo National Forest right outside of the Yosemite boundary. This peak was to be my very first alpine climb!

During our time at Saddle Bag, San Diego was experiencing a heat wave and when we checked the weather prior to our trip, Yosemite was also showing warm temperatures. Needless to say we showed up for this climb unprepared without rain gear. When we arrived at the Lake, it was pouring, of course. But we decided to wake up at 4am to check things out and the sky was clear. We decided to go for it, but grabbed some trash bags just in case.

Mt. Conness is a pretty easy climb, but it has a lot of exposure that definitely made it mentally challenging. The route ended up looking much harder and scarier than it actually was technically which made for a thrilling (first climb) experience. Luckily it remained clear throughout our ascent, but as we neared the main peak, the sky started to turn. When we reach the summit, it started to snow on us! Thankfully, we had trash bags, now our makeshift ponchos. At this moment I had to appreciate that last year I almost missed snow fall completely (and was pretty upset about it) and this year I was experiencing it in September from the top of a mountain. So my spirits were still high at least until we descended enough for it to turn into rain. However, even with the rain, the descent was absolutely stunning. Flowing creeks and hillside meadows led us further down the mountain to where we began our day about 13 hours earlier. Luckily the hard rain held off until we made it back into the van, then it proceeded to come down non-stop all night long, until the morning when we were greeted by frosty temperatures and snowcapped peaks. We definitely lucked out with our small window of clear skies and moderate weather. We heard that during clear skies, the views form the top of Mt. Conness are unbelievable, but even alongside the dark and ominous clouds, the view was quite breathtaking. All in all, this was an unforgettable and rewarding experience that I definitely endorse.

After sleeping a full night and then some… we were pretty tired, we drove into Yosemite Valley. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side. But it was clear enough to experience its grandeur. Also noted, the bad weather does not deter people from visiting. There were a lot of people, I can only imagine what it is like on a nice day. But I am happy to say that I have finally visited this famous park and I look forward to going back one day. From there we kept moving north, visiting lots of friends and family until we made it to the wedding in Marin. Overall, it was a pretty great trip and I am looking forward to the next one.



Every summer we fly my niece out to San Diego (from Boston) to spend some quality time with us. This summer marked her fourth year (and fifth trip) west. It was also her longest trip to date, a whole five weeks. Five weeks with a 6 yr old is extremely rewarding, but also quite exhausting and sometimes challenging. Although some patience was tested on both of our ends, it was an adventurous and memorable trip. Every year we try to spend her time here doing things that she is unable to do at home- camping, surfing, fishing, climbing… we definitely pack it in. We even got to do a boating/camping trip to Catalina with our/her friends this year. And although we did all these different things, fun things that I know she will always remember, she is still a 6 yr old little girl whose favorite activity here was just the opportunity to be a princess at Frozen camp.




When I met my husband 5 years ago there were only two things in his refrigerator, it was full of beer bottles and dead animals. Luckily there was a good explanations for this, he spent his quality time brewing beer and training birds of prey. At that time, he had a red-tailed hawk named Chaos that he would free fly and hunt with (hence the dead animals). Now fast forward to present day and he has founded a local non-profit dedicated to the education of birds of prey. He has cultivated his love for birds into a successful and rewarding business. He has also grown his love for beer and home brewing. His beers keep getting better with each batch and now instead of bottling, they go straight into kegs and through the wall to our kitchen tap setup.

Not only do I love his beer and his birds, but I love that I can be involved in both of these things. As for the non-profit, I am able to act as their creative director. And for the beer, well we take our beer seriously. Danny names each one and I brand them and burn them into custom tap handles. It is not a true business, but it is fun to have our own home “brewery”. A brewery that is of course inspired by the world of birds.



Four years ago I created a surf illustration for my now brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s wedding. They got married in Maui and they wanted an image that was surf inspired. After the wedding I painting and framed this image which is currently hanging in their house. Fast forward to present day and they now have a wonderful three year old daughter. My niece is already an outdoor guru with experience in climbing, surfing and skiing. She is truly an inspiration to toddlers and parents everywhere. Whenever my niece looks at the image I created she asks where she is (because she is missing from the art). So for her third birthday I added her into the image and printed the illustration on canvas. I didn’t have the time to paint it, but I used photoshop to get the same look as a painting and everyone was quite happy with the result, especially my niece.



I am an east coaster that now lives on the west coast, i.e. I’ve never experienced a winter without snow. Even in the six years I have lived in San Diego, I have spent time in the snow every winter. But this year that almost changed and I was struggling with the idea of having my first snowless year while my parents were experiencing their hardest winter on record in Boston. I realize I shouldn’t complain, living in San Diego is great but a year with only sunshine and 70+ degree days can be frustrating especially when our current drought conditions desperately need the rain and snow.

As the days passed and winter turned into spring I came to grips with the fact that I am officially a southern Californian, and there would be no snow this year. But thanks to my husband and his family, I was lucky enough to experience one of Mammoth’s last snowstorms of the year. I haven’t been defeated yet!

We headed up to the mountains during the last week in April, to spend time with Danny’s brother and wife and our 3 yr old niece. Yes there was definitely sledding involved and also a beautiful and snowy hike up 2,500ft outside of June lake. I finally got to experience the Mammoth hot springs as well, and of course local craft beer from Mountain Rambler (in bishop), Mammoth Brewing Co and June Lake Brewing. It was just what the doctor ordered, snowy mountains, family, hot springs and beer!