Tag Archives: California

Como la Flor

On the last day of May, I want to share a little bit about how my sisters & I celebrated our wonderful mom for Mother’s Day this year.

We went out to The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California and gave her the biggest bouquet she’s ever received. The entire place is filled with colorful petals as far as the eye can see. If you haven’t been out to the flower fields yet, I urge you to visit the beautiful scene. It’s the perfect excuse to wear a pretty dress & take lots of pictures. I hope you enjoy mine…

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The Road to Burning Man 

They say your Burn begins the moment you decide to go. If that’s the case, mine started on the east coast, over brunch, only days before my departure. It – like many of mine are – was a last minute decision.  
My friends A&M invited me. I declined. They asked why, and I mentioned the cost being an issue. They countered with a steal of a deal.  Even so, I had no sure way of getting there. Then, they offered me transportation, along with a spot inside the RV that they’d be camping in. All I had to do at this point, was say yes. So, I did. 
My mission was to meet with the group driving the RV. Many of them were traveling from Arizona & making a stop in LA for other virgins (fist-time burners). 

I spent a beautiful day in Venice Beach with my friend, Nick. It was a good feeling knowing that I was dipping in the same ocean that has entertained the likes of Jim Morrison, Evidence & Hank Moody.

Our visit to the beach was only going to be a walk near the waterfront… Or so I thought. I wasn’t dressed in my swimsuit (even though it was packed in my luggage for the dessert). I wasn’t prepared to actually get in the water, which is odd for me, because I know I can never resist jumping in the waves.  

That afternoon, I (re)discovered that you can’t always wait until you’re fully prepared for something. I thought way too long and hard about going in the water before I finally gave in. In shorts, a tank top & a full face of make up, I made my way into the beautiful Pacific. 

I realized that I was only holding myself back from having fun. I know how much I love the ocean, and that I never pass up a good swim, but for some reason, I didn’t take my bikini to one of my favorite beaches…? That’s just insane! 

I had to remind myself that true happiness only comes when you’re doing what you want. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, or how you’re feeling, or whether or not you makeup will look a hot mess. When you get the opportunity to do something you love, you just gotta dive right in… Like right here, right now. 

Here are some candid shots of me letting myself be happy… 

   
 

  
Though I was having a magical day on the west coast, communication from the AZ bunch had ceased and I was worried. I was already nervous about this whole situation. Not hearing from them did not help.  

After a mini panic attack & several attempts at getting in touch with the driver, I found out that the RV was having mechanical issues. They were going to have to delay their departure until tomorrow. 

I decided I would make a night of it & enjoy Los Angeles. I squeezed in a bowling session with Snow Tha Product & the Woke Family. Then, I got a good night’s sleep to prepared myself for the long journey the next day. 

In the morning, I learned that the RV was en route, and would be arriving in the evening. I had time for one more beach visit! I got news that Snow & the Wokes were headed to Venice, so I met them there- this time equipped with my swimwear. After a fun afternoon with my friends & the waves, it was time to get on the road. 

When I first met Leo (the RV owner and driver) I didn’t receive the warmest welcome. Given that I was already nervous about the trip, the rocky introduction just added to my worries. But, even though I felt a bit uncomfortable, I forced myself to board the RV and go through with what I had already agreed to. 

I’ve learned in my recent years that I  should take on my fears. There’s always something great on the other side. So, while fear of possibly being trapped in a dust storm, inhaling too much dirt and dying in the desert in the middle of the night raced in my brain, I was going to Burning Man to see what was in it for me…

Details on my days in Black Rock City will be posted tomorrow. #30postsin30days 

*Special thanks to Nick Morgan for capturing me in my state of bliss.  Your photos are such a gift!  

The Queen Mary

As I mentioned in my last post, one of my recent domestic trips took me LAX.  I had the chance to stay on The Queen Mary in Long Beach & I can’t believe I waited so long to share this post with you.  But, since we’re just leaving Halloween season & since today is Friday the 13th, here’s my story about my stay on the famous haunted ship. 

I landed pretty late at night & was ready to head straight to bed.  I definitely noticed an eerie feeling upon my arrival.  When I got into my room, my initial excitement turned to wonder… & a bit of fear.  I mean this place is known for ghost sightings!  I remember sleeping with the lights & tv on that night. This isn’t uncommon for me, in my states of exhaustion, but this time, it was on purpose.  

I wanted to sleep in a bit, since I’d be working all night, as my returning flight was a redeye.  I wanted to explore the ship & take in as much as I could.  Here are some shots from my 3 hour, audio-guided walking tour.  

 

The view from my room.


  

The longest hallway on board. If you stand at one end, people seem to disappear as they approach the opposite end.

 

 

You can find stories like this posted all around the ship.


 

A bit of history: The original office for the Travel Bureau, from the Queen’s active days at sea.

   
 

This is the view you get while entering or exiting the lobby.

 
 In these next photos, you’ll see shots from the upper & lower decks, as well as some of the control rooms.  It was really cool seeing some of the behind the scenes stuff.  

   
   
   

Radio Control and Communication room.

 
    

A look into where the Captain of the ship used to stay.

   
 
   
  

Walking through the control room all alone, was kind of scary…

  

One of the most haunting places I stood on the ship. This room is the lowest point on the ship & the propeller is actually under water.

  

I captured this shot at the end of my tour, before dinner.


After a delicious dinner on the upper deck, and a beautiful California sunset, I headed to my room to get ready for my flight.    
Thanks for checking out this post. I hope you enjoyed it! 
*Remember, for more up-to-date stories, you can add me on SnapChat: CcTheStar. 

For live feed coverage, follow me on Periscope: @StartingAt30

A Picture Perfect Day in LA

Last month, my friends at Rhymesayers Entertainment invited me out to the Camp Flog Naw Carnival at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Growing up a Raiders fan, I’ve always wanted to see the legendary arena. Sure, it wasn’t an actual game & sure we’d be out in the parking lot area, but hey, it was going to be fun either way.
Camp Flog Naw has hosted this Hip Hop Carnival for the past three years. This year’s line-up was insane. With artists ranging in styles, ages & hometowns from from coast-to-coast, the event had acts for any and all hip hop heads in attendance.
I arrived in time to catch some of my favorites on stage…Step Brothers.

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After their set, I met up with Ashanti to thank him for the generous invite.

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He told me to head backstage where he’d meet me in a bit. That’s where all the magic happened..!
I walk around, greeting some of my favorite familiar faces. Some of the guys from Rhymesayers (who I met at Soundset) and, of course, some artists fall into that category. I love seeing them all behind the scenes, when they’re just “hanging out” with their peers. It’s beautiful to watch the interactions.
My heart is thrilled when I spot my friend, Evidence… Because he’s seated at a table that’s hosting pure Instagram Royalty. Sure, I want to play it cool and not show too much of my giddiness… But I can’t help but be excited when I notice WatchxWitness (13th Witness & Jason Goldwatch), Madchild, and others…
I carry on a casual conversation with Ev & Madchild. When Madchild asks me to snap a group photo of the guys…

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I see my opportunity, so, before the moment escapes me, I give in and ask for pictures, too! I start by asking Ev to pose with me. I know him, so, it’s not weird… But here’s the kicker… I ask the legendary photographer & Instagram King, Tim McGurr aka 13th Witness to take the photo. It’s seriously an honor. I love every picture that he (and his girlfriend, Monica Alcarez) posts.
Ev turns to me and asks if I know who that is… I respond with “Yes, that’s the reason I asked him to take the picture.” Ha! He laughs & trades places with Tim. Now I have another Instagram legend (and amazing “Director of Photography“) taking my picture with King Witness himself. I’m stoked!

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I decide to keep it going at this point… I’m asking one genius after another to snap my picture & to use their talent to capture my moment with each of them:
So, after 13th Witness took my picture with Ev, & Ev took my picture with 13th Witness, Ev snapped me with Madchild, Jason Goldwatch caught me with Murs, and Misha Louy shot a few fun frames of me with Jason Goldwatch!

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I got to chat with Jason for a bit and gush over how much I love his work. He captures human beings from all over the world in the most beautiful, authentic way. He captures exactly what I see when I’m traveling the world… unique, wonderful people, all different, yet all the same… He captures a true sense of unity. His work is moving.
I asked him if he ever felt weird taking candid shots of strangers… His response, “I got over that a long time ago.”
*Check out one of my all time favorite Jason Goldwatch videos here.

After my personal photo-shoot, I took some time to walk around the festival to catch some of the live musical acts.

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Locals, Grouch and Eligh made me feel right at home.

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Mac Miller gave me a chance to celebrate my (part-time) PA residency.

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Rick Ross had me & the guys dancing to his hits. Tyler, The Creator (the mastermind & founder of the carnival) made us all feel like kids when he took the stage. His set was a huge bedroom with a ginormous bed. There was definitely lots of jumping around and it felt like play time when beach balls were being tossed around in the crowd.
We stuck around to watch a huge chunk of headliner, Pharell Williams, set. He hit us with a real show. His amazing dancers and the N.E.R.D. reunion kept the crowd thoroughly entertained. It was a great festival, overall. I had a blast.

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After the festival, I made my way to Santa Monica with Ashanti, Dem Atlas & his DJ, Justin. I had great time chatting with the guys. They’re all hip hop geniuses & I love their energy.
One of my favorite moments of the night was when I was talking to Josh (Dem Atlas, 22 years old) about his success & how he deals with the guilt of being away from his family. This is something I’ve been experiencing lately… Fulfilling my dreams, and missing precious time with those you love dearly. The answer that this young man gave me was mind-blowing:
What keeps me going is that I know I’m doing all this for them. I’m not doing this for me. You know, I’m doing this for my mom, for my family, for the youth… When I realized that I could actually have whatever I want, that the power is within me, all I could think was, “Ok, what’s next?” Today, I saw so many artists that I admire & I got to talk to them & let them know that I love & appreciate their work…then, I turned around & some kid would be saying the the same thing to me. Like I’m that to them. It’s beautiful!
Well put, young sir. Well put!
We shared a moment discussing The Doors, Jim Morrison, Southern California, music, love & the power within… It was the perfect way to end a perfect day… Well, that & tacos! 😉 Thanks, Ashanti.

Thank you for taking the time to read my about my adventures. If you’re reading this, know that I appreciate you. Now, what are your dreams? What’s your story? What’s next for you?

Special thanks to my friends at Rhymesayers, Ashanti, Siddiq, and Skye, for feeding my obsession of hip hop & amazing human beings and for introducing me to people that I connect with and adore like Dem Atlas, Clint Schaff, and so many others linked to the RSE family. It’s an honor to feel so welcomed. Thank you!

Mexicali Taco & Company

This past weekend I finally had the pleasure of eating at LA’s famous Mexicali Taco & Company. I hopped in the car with a couple of my friends & made the forty-minute drive (in Los Angeles traffic) to satisfy our craving for Baja style tacos.
When we arrive, we’re greeted by my good friend (& owner), Esdras Ochoa and his huge smile.
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I’ve known Esdras since we were in junior high school…before he mastered the culinary arts & was still experimenting with some questionable combinations. Haha! Now, I see his face on TV & get to read all about his success.
Esdras clears a table for us and when he hands us menus, I insist that he surprise us. He’s a great sport. He’s considerate enough to ask a few questions about diet restrictions & then he heads to the kitchen. He sends out a variety of delicious options of carne asada (beef), chicken, and pork…
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We tried every salsa available & devoured every bite of our food. The famous flour tortillas (which are exported from tortillerias in the Baja region) added undeniable authenticity to our meal. It was amazing and I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in LA.

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you have to stop by 702 N. Figueroa Street to try these tacos!

For more information (including menu, hours, location and contact) visit MexicaliTacoCo.com.

*Special Thanks to Esdras Ochoa for a wonderful meal, for your kindness, warmth & generosity…and for being such a great friend. Congratulations on all your success. I’m so proud of you!

Thanks for reading, everyone. Happy eating!

New Me, No Excuses

So, I turned 31 over a month ago. I wasn’t feeling so good and I had to take some time to reset & heal. I dedicated two full weeks to getting healthy & back on track. I spent the time back home, in San Diego, where I saw my doctor, my dentist, my hairdresser & my trainers (and family & friends, of course).
Working in the airline industry, time literally flies. Before you know it, things in life can fall out of integrity and affect your overall well-being. Seeing my doctor made a huge difference for me, my dentist brought my smile back to life, and my hairdresser & trainers sent me back to Philadelphia looking & feeling like a new woman.
I worked hard and attended classes five nights a week at NXPT (No Excuses Personal Training) in San Diego. I met Dan and Richie back in May 2012. I was instantly attracted to their style of teaching & the unique workouts they offered. The guys are so charismatic and so much fun. They really care about their clients and about getting them results. It’s evident that they absolutely love what they do. They’ve actually been voted the best Boot Camp in San Diego two years in a row.

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I was the healthiest I had ever known myself to be that summer. I changed my eating habits, my social habits (I even quit smoking), and I was in amazing shape. Over the past year & a half, since becoming a flight attendant (& being away from that environment), I found it challenging to keep up with my new (healthy) habits…
So, I’m making it a point to get myself back to where I want to be. The guys hooked me up with a 21 day supply of Herbalife shakes & Proven Nutrition supplements for weight loss & muscle recovery (which they sell in-house).

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After two weeks of consistent training, I lost close to 5 pounds! It was a great start… I’m only 5’1″, so, five pounds makes a huge difference.

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As a bonus, I got to experience this all with my mom & sister, who are also members at NXPT and big fans of the guys, too.

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Since returning to flying, I’ve been pretty good with working out on my own. Of course I took a little “turkey” break for Thanksgiving, but I’m back in my routine now. Since this isn’t a health and fitness blog, I’m not going to document my progress through my posts, but I’m hoping my progress will show itself through my pictures…

For more information about NXPT, Herbalife and Proven Nutrition supplements, & health tips, head to nxptfit.com and subscribe to their newsletter.

Special thanks to Dan, Richie and the entire staff at NXPT for all that you do. You guys are so inspiring and you are definitely my favorite trainers in the whole wide world!

I’d also like to acknowledge my hairdresser of 16 years, Brisa Ramirez. After all these years, your magic still amazes me. You are a true artist & I love my hair. Thank you! If you’re in California, you can contact Brisa here.

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Thank you all for reading along. I wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season & new year up ahead! Do you have any resolutions that you’re putting in place before 2015?

Love Haight

I just got back from a short visit to San Francisco. It was amazing. My good friends, Ryan & Brian, just had twins & I just had to meet them. I mentioned before, that Ryan was a huge inspiration to me when it came to traveling & seeing the world. She’s a special person in my life.
Even with brand new babies & lots of feedings and diaper changes, plus some bathroom remodeling & a full house, she knows how to make me feel completely welcome & at home.
I made a quick, last minute decision to head to California to visit. I was greeted with a delicious dinner with the entire family (Ryan, her husband, the new twins & Ryan’s mother-in-law) at a restaurant in Sausalito with a killer view of the city (forgive the absence of photos). We had invigorating conversations of family, and of course, travel. It was great to catch up.
The next day, the plan was to spend some time in the Haight Ashbury District…a place I’ve always dreamt of seeing…
When we arrive, we park near Amoeba Music and start our walk through the historic neighborhood. Ryan’s mother-in-law tells us that she’s excited to be here, too…she lived through the Summer of Love & has wanted to visit the district for almost 40 years. It’s a first for all of us.
The walk up the street if full of diverse music & fun fashion. We stop to grab lunch at El Faro (they let me feed my Mexican food craving). I We devour every bite, before continuing our voyage.

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We pass by all the cute shops, the hippies – locals and tourists- & loud music to get to the famous corner of Haight & Ashbury, where we stop to snap some photos.
It’s exciting, it’s nostalgic & it’s just plain beautiful…

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The smell of “herbs” in the air, the variations of music, and the fun crowd make for such a great experience. I’m in love & I’m pretty sure I’ll live here someday.
After our adventure, we head home to feed the babies & prepare for dinner. I get to know grandma a little more… She’s actually the one who inspired Ryan to travel so much, so, it’s great to hear her stories..!
There’s one story, in particular, about how she wanted to fly for Pan Am after college that touches me. It’s amazing to hear about such a pivotal moment in her life…
Dinner leads to more stories & quality time. The food is delicious & the conversation is just as indulgent.
The night ends with dad & I drinking “Mexican Ashtrays” & playing games as mom, grandma & babies sleep. Then, we feed the twins before we head to bed.
In the morning, after a quick visit with the ladies & babies, I’m off to the airport…back to Philadelphia, back to work… This is always the hard part. But, alas, I know I’ll be back & I’m
Looking forward to it.
There’s no place like home & nothing like friends & family…

Thanks for reading, everyone. Peace & love!