Joy in Simplicity


Pure Bliss - the gift of travel

Almost a decade ago, my cousin got married in North Carolina. I flew in for her wedding and stayed with a summer camp counselor and her family for the night. They picked me up at the airport with their two little girls in tow and we chatted the entire drive home. Along the way, her husband (who was also a camp director of mine) pointed out whimsical trees, purple flowers on the center median and even a deer on the side of the road. The visit was great, the wedding was beautiful and the time with family and friends precious, but Chris pointing out wildflowers to his young daughters has stuck with me.

Headstand Maldives - the gift of travel

It wasn’t a particularly ‘teachable moment’, there was no test, there was no reason; there was solely joy and he wanted his girls to share in it with him. Fast forward and here we are in San Diego, having regular conversations about the simple life, easy joy and what makes people happy. Regularly disregarding labels and boxes of any kind, I’m realizing more and more that ‘it’s the simple things’ for me. Never have I been interested in the newest gadget or the fanciest outfit. I’m the kid who’s happiest sitting on the sand any day or collecting beach glass by the side of the water. I’m the kind of girl who chooses picnics for dinner and a walk through nature before heels and table cloth type spaces. And I’m realizing more and more how much happiness and ease there is to be found in the simple.

Joshua Tree hug - the gift of travel

I’ve also come to the realization that allowing others to be the keeper of your happiness is an utter waste of time. If the only joy of heart is found outside of the self, how can you be sure it happens as often as you’d like? If you have to wait for children to come visit, friends to book travel, partners to go to the movies or others to grab an afternoon adventure there’s less happiness chances for yourself. For each of us, there’s something to make us happy – I guess the trick is finding it, harnessing it and making yourself a priority. If, like me, it’s spending time outdoors surrounded by some sort of natural wonder and you can manage to plop yourself into that spot on your own…do it more often. If it’s spending hours canning gifts of your garden, crafting, running, yoga-ing, volunteering, breathing in the medicinal benefits of salt air while surrounded by white sand, hiking, camping, cooking, fishing, cycling, playing, sharing yourself with others, reading, creating, training or whatever brings out your happy…do it!

Live, Love, Laugh - the gift of travel

Life is too short to spend it being miserable if you are in any way in control of your happiness. Of course, there are plenty of things beyond our control that regularly place obstacles in our paths. Our attitudes and choices are some of the only things we actually do have control over. It takes a lot to put yourself first and realize that you’re as important as you believe others are. Be the YOU you can be proud of and the YOU who matters. Put yourself on your own priority list and believe you deserve to be there. Find the joy in the everyday – the blue sky, a rainbow, the clap of a thunderstorm, a shooting star, an open trail, a crashing ocean, a table filled of glitter, a child’s laugh, an outstretched hand, a smiling pup, a wild flower or a day filled with hope that’s in your grasp. There’s happiness in the simple if only we give ourselves permission to see it.

No Worries - the gift of travel

Flu shots, funky meeting spots and friendships

the gift of travel

Met on a tour of Australia over a decade ago…frequent travel adventures since

This past weekend, Mat and I got our flu shots. Who knew we still needed them in southern California, but according to our friendly Walgreens pharmacist (Karissa), once a year regardless of where you live is a good idea. So, we went, she jabbed, we got our shiny red bandaids and eventually…we left. With allergies and nerves, I often hang out for a bit after a vaccination and this time, we weren’t alone. Another couple was there to do the same and our forty-five minute long conversation in our ‘flu shot group’ got me thinking – about friendships and where they begin. Read the rest of this entry

The winds (or mushrooms) of change!


“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” – Lao Tzu

My dad took up running in his thirties. He marathoned with the best of them. Then he became a triathelete and ‘thriatheleted’ with the best of them. Today, this seventy year old pancreatic cancer survivor is a cyclist and golf enthusiast. Growth is awesome…change is good.


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates Read the rest of this entry

A lesson wrapped in challah

Happy New Year from San Diego -

Happy New Year from San Diego

This past weekend was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In over four decades, this is only the second time I’ve been away from home at this time of year. The first was six years ago. We’d gotten married in late August and took off for an around the world honeymoon, only to find ourselves celebrating the New Year in Berlin, Germany. This time, we’d taken off to escape winter in New York last December, and haven’t yet left San Diego. We found ourselves in this southern California city to ring in the New Year. Although short in length, these two experiences taught me endless lessons. Read the rest of this entry

When happiness happens!


Big Bear retreat

The other day we were hiking somewhere and gazing at the beauty that is nature. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that this is real life. Real people, real work, real issues but still, this. These experiences constantly amaze me. People always said that your attitude is the only thing you can change and that gratitude is the best attitude. These are things I used to say to my students along with choose positive and make positive decisions. Life is interesting. Those same things I once said to my students and strongly believed have become a focal point. Experience truly is the best teacher. Read the rest of this entry

Not your ordinary sand art


You’ve made sand art, right? Me too. You know, at a fair where you pour colored sand into a vase, seal the top with candle wax and take it home for all to see your creation. No? Maybe you made yours on the beach with a bucket and shovel. I did that too. My sister and I would create what we believed to be magical castles complete with moats and dragons and my little brother would proceed to pounce and pummel them to destruction. You too? Well, what I witnessed this weekend was not your ordinary sand art!

Labor Day Sand Sculpting Challenge - the gift of travel Read the rest of this entry

A west coast birthday



Where have you celebrated your birthday? What makes it special to you?

For almost a decade I celebrated my birthday on the sand at Azores beach in Long Beach, New York. Salty sea air, beach-goers, silky south shore sand, a walk on the boardwalk, some frozen yogurt, and some semblance of chocolate were part of the day. I spent as many hours outside as possible and was always content in that beautifully, happy space! Last year, our adventures took us to the islands of the Maldives to celebrate my entrance to a new decade. Different sand, same outlook. There was yoga, sea air, sandy feet, an entire day spent outdoors in the sunshine and of course, a bit of chocolate. Who knew then that it would be one of the most perfect holidays and a spectacular place to celebrate any occasion! Read the rest of this entry

Forty at 40



I turned 40 almost a full year ago (363 days to be exact). It was scary. It has been a big year. Forty – whoa! I remember when I turned eighteen my freshman year at university…that was scary. Then there was twenty…I cried for days to no longer be a ‘teenager’. Days, months and years passed and as each milestone felt a little lighter, I think I got a little braver. All of those milestones hold societal and familial weight. The ‘shoulds’ and ‘supposed tos’ are sometimes louder than you’d like them to be and its a struggle to silence them…I’m hoping I’ve gotten better at it. (It’s still a work in progress) Read the rest of this entry

September…in San Diego


Flips in Long Beach

It’s September. In my New York-raised brain that means so very many things to me. It means the influx of cinnamon and pumpkin spiced everything. It means back to school, last lifeguard whistles and nerves for the impending school year. It means nights begin to get shorter, evenings become crisp and Facebook® feeds fill with questions of the best apple picking, hayrides or other fall festival activities. It means pollen counts rise and allergies arrive as my itchy eyes notify me of ragweed’s arrival before any weather person can. It means dread appears in the impending winter and trying to figure out where to book a holiday to avoid the onslaught of snow, ice and cold that makes my face hurt. It starts the thought of a winter with layers for outside and the need to have the speed of a NASCAR driver to remove said layers inside before the overheating process begins. September means holidays, fall sports and a new year. September also means my birthday. Read the rest of this entry

“There’s nothing like a good moose”


Trail sign at Big Bear Lake

Do you like roadtrips? What kind are your favourite? More and more, I realize how much I like them, so a few weekends ago, we took another one. Just under three hours from San Diego sits Big Bear Lake. Not being a skier, someone who enjoys winter or an enclosed water fan, I’d never been – so we felt it was time. Snacks, hiking shoes and sunscreen packed and we were on our way! Read the rest of this entry