Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Annual Eco-Illumination Retreat

::Manifest your reality into this amazing journey through your mind, body, spirit and deeper conscience of your being::
{come join me into the jungle of secluded Yelapa on a journey through your soul - together we will experience a deeper practice of our yoga, meditation and environmental respect.}

Intentions... it seems as though it is a simple concept, but to truly engage your being to fully manifest your intentions into the reality that you desire through your journey is more than just thinking about what it could be like. The energy that is invested into those thoughts and manifestations take a deep concentration, meditation, positive energy and acceptance of what the divine universe provides for you during the exact moment that you need it.

The most challenging part is recognizing these moments and fully accepting what the universe provides for you without having judgement or hesitation. We must realize the potential we all have within ourselves and know deep within our being that we are worthy of the goodness that the world provides for us. With that knowledge, we must also recognize that in accepting the gifts that the universe provides - we must also acknowledge that we too must return those positive gifts back into our community.

I encourage my community of energy healers, body workers, and spiritual facilitators to recognize the grace in which we receive and accept in our day to day practice - and in return pass on that wonderful energy to facilitate the flow of positivity to our clients, friends and community members. This in return will expand their awareness and their spiritual practice. Together we grow as one, and together we are deeply connected to one another on a higher path of conciseness that we can all grow and create this incredible life journey together.

Thank you for all my guides on my path to enlightenment, my teachers who strive to show my patience, and for all the future lessons I will learn from facilitators who selflessly give so much to provide me with the lessons that I need to learn exactly in that moment.


::Please join us on this amazing journey through the mind, body, spirit, ecological footprint, biological nature hikes with 3 sessions of meditation and yoga sessions. You will be renewed and will never regret making the leap of faith to experience this life changing journey::

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

I had my first trip to Vegas at the age of 30! Some dear friends of ours got married there last week, so it gave me the opportunity to check it out and see if Vegas could really live up to all the glitz and glam it promises...

If you know me, then you most likely know that Vegas is not really a place that I ever imagined visiting. Maybe at one time in my early twenties was it appealing, but that quickly dissipated as I got older and discovered that I have a deeper appreciation of traveling outside the country (especially on a beach with a beer in hand). With this in mind, I realized that I probably would not go back to Vegas - at least not by choice. So, Greg and I decided to live it up while we were there and I chose all of the things that Vegas has to offer to add to my itinerary.

We stayed at the NYNY. We got a screamin' deal off Orbitz for 3 nights and airfare for two for $650. I purchased tickets to the Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil and picked two different spas to check out. We also decided on dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant where Greg's good friend Scott works.

Okay, not the best hotel I've ever stayed at - but clean and definitely worth the low price that we scored. Rooms were average and we were slightly annoyed that the only king rooms left were smoking (even though we had reserved a non-smoking king). So we opted for the double queen non-smoking which was okay until we realized how used to our comfy king sized bed at home. Our nights consisted of me yelling at Greg to roll over and stop kicking me. A downfall of the hotel: they charge you $25 for a refrigerator per day! Lame when you are a budget traveler who likes to purchase snacks to save on the expensive mediocre lunches you are forced to buy. Oh well.

Cirque du Soleil:
In one word, amazing! I cannot express enough how incredible this show is. My body was on sensory overload! The music of course was so good, the Beatles are one of my all time favorite bands - and to see it put into a show that no one else but Cirque du Soleil can do truly overwhelmed me. I am still listening to all my Beatles music now letting it resonate how truly generational and talented that group is. I would say if you get the chance, buy the tickets. You will not be disappointed, it was the most incredible show I've ever seen.

Oleksandra Spa (at Treasure Island):
I had a Groupon that cost me $50 for $120 worth of services. The spa was beautiful, clean and offered men and women locker rooms equipped with snacks, juices, waters, showers, steam, sauna, and jacuzzi tubs. My girlfriend and I got to chat and relax before our treatments and that in itself was such a treat! I opted for a 25 min. massage with a 25 min. full body scrub. The scrub and massage were very professional and extremely relaxing. This spa isn't even one of the higher end ones on the strip, but I left feeling pampered and more relaxed than I've felt in a long time!

Nurture Spa (at the Luxor):
Not as nice as Oleksandra... but still decent. The ambiance was not as appealing as my other experience, but still offered the same amenities - just not as welcoming and spa like. But, with that said - it was the best massage of my life! Upgrade to the deep tissue. It's the shit!

Eiffel Tower restaurant:
French cuisine and Greg's friend Scott hooked us up with a window seat facing the Bellagio water fountain show. The ambiance was so romantic and the service was impeccable. We tried froie gras for the first time, and I am hooked! It was the most delicate, buttery and rich piece of heaven I have ever experienced. It was served with braised bing cherries and warm. Greg and I enjoyed every bite! Then Scott sent us over with escargot and sweet breads with a poached egg. I dove right in and started with the sweet breads. I thought it was delicate and had the flavor of meat, but couldn't quite describe it.  The escargot was my least favorite. We were also treated to a lox appetizer of the freshest cold smoked salmon with capers and lemon juice. The main course consisted of a rack of lamb and a filet mignon with bernaise sauce. But the star of the show was the three desserts that Scott sent us: pistachio souffle, pineapple merrainge, and a platter of sorbets. It was honestly the best meal of my life. With a bottle of Pinot, we were feeling quite spoiled and indulgent. I love having a partner who knows me so well and is willing to try new foods and spend some money to experience amazing sensory adventures like that. Greg is pretty much the best partner ever!

Our last and most important event was Laura and Michael's wedding. It was emotional, beautiful and quick (which everyone loves!). I am so happy to have been a part of their special day and for bringing together so many friends. I wish them a lifetime of love, joy and happiness together. I'd like to give a special thank you for bringing together so many great friends for this amazing event.

Last thoughts on Vegas. It is hot, overcrowded and overpriced. I had an incredible time, but don't expect to be back anytime soon. It sort of depressed me and the energy was very off putting for this eternal hippie at heart. But I am so appreciative of the experience and getting to spend time with many friends that I don't get to see often enough.

Next trip will be either Mexico or Central America... stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I finally graduated! Looking back at where I was when I decided to start this journey is truly incredible... I decided to go back to school when I was living with Sarah and Lisa five years ago. At that time, I was single and working full time doing massage. I had just moved back to Olympia from Portland after living there and not quite finding a strong network. I was a lot wilder then, partying every week, dating and working a lot. I finally felt at that time I was at the place where I could face going to college. After deciding not to attend with the many who did right after high school, I sometimes felt underwhelmed with myself. I realize that college isn't for everyone, but it was always my intention and my dream to accomplish obtaining a degree.

I started at a community college with the intention of pursuing a degree in psychology. That transformed into environmental studies after taking a couple amazing environmental courses. I knew that I had a deep passion for the environment, but knew I didn't want to do a lot of the field work associated with that type of degree. I researched and found the Urban Studies program at UWT. I visited the campus and fell in love.... it was exactly what I was so passionate about: the environment, cities, planning, sustainability, and social issues. After I moved in with Greg, I received my acceptance letter to UWT Urban Studies program.

My first quarter and my first class at UWT set the stage for the rest of my time there. It was with my favorite professor, Dr. Lisa Hoffman. The class was called "Cities and Citizenship" and the course was all about how we define citizenship and discussed the basic human rights that should be implemented to every person. It was my favorite class and it was where I met all of the core friends that I would come to find some of the most amazing friends I would ever make.

The last two years have been a blur. I've written tons of papers, read more books than I can remember, and gained friends from people who inspire me in so many ways. Going back to school was the best choice I ever made. Not only did I receive a great education, it also gave me confidence, a strong network of friends, and some of the best memories to date. To have all my friends and family see me fulfill my dream and be successful in my academics is something that I could not imagine. It made me feel so proud and lucky to have people who care so much about me watch me go through this amazing journey. My family has been so supportive throughout the whole time, but Greg has really taken on all of my stresses with the most genuine and generous support. I could not be where I am today without him.

So I'm done! I feel amazing and am looking forward to applying to grad school at the end of the year. For now, I continue to do massage as well as look for opportunities to gain experience within my field.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Part of the Family

(Night out with Greg's family)

Last night Greg and I met his family for a night filled with delicious dinner and endless bottles of wine! In one word: lovely! We made the trip up to Edmonds to find a little know gem called, FIVE restaurant and bistro ( The location was less desirable, but the interior was sexy, rustic and the food and service was incredible. Their price ranges from 10-20 with interesting options for the palate. I had a golden beet salad with pine nuts and goat cheese, and then Greg and I split a fire cooked pizza with gorgonzola, pears and pesto. Incredible! They also had an outdoor area that was decorated with dim lighting, fireplaces and of course propane heaters for our chilly NW weather!

(Greg and his Mom)

Greg's family is like many families today (including mine). It is a modern family that includes a divorce, step siblings and years of building friendships and family dynamics. His mother married a wonderful man who is generous, kind, and very intelligent. His children include a daughter, son, and a recent daughter who found him after 24 years of her life not knowing who he was. The energy at the dinner table last night was light, fun and filled with love. At one point each of the children gave toasts to Jim (it was his 70th birthday!) and one in particular brought me to tears. Lori, the daughter who found Jim when she was 24 gave the most heartfelt speech about family, finding Jim and gaining all of these wonderful people in her life. She discussed missing a part of her life for so long - and was finally fulfilled with all the people she found through the process of discovering her past.

This of course would have made anyone tear up. There were streams of tears coming down the faces of most who were there. I in particular couldn't help but relate to her life struggles and her search for her identity. It touched me so deeply, I just looked at Greg who knew exactly what I was feeling and gave me a warm hug and told me that I was his family. I feel so lucky to have him as my partner, as he always knows what I am thinking and feeling.

(me, Lesa, Vicki & Lori)

Lori came up to me later and I told her how moved I was by her speech. We bonded over some of the issues and struggles over growing up and not knowing where you come from. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and embraced me with a hug that was deeper than just the physical level. I admire her honesty and her journey, and remember that we are all on these paths that ultimately lead to exactly where we need to be.

(Scott, Paul & Greg)

I've never felt that I was missing anything in life... My family is the absolute best family. I can completely be myself, and they accept me for who I am. They have shown me unconditional love, support, and have encouraged me to live the life that makes me happy - not the one that makes everyone else happy. There still continues to be a part of me that will wonder how my path brought me here. I hope that one day my birth mother will get the courage to reach out to me so that I can understand her struggles and her journey that has brought me here.

Thank you to Greg, the most amazing partner - and his lovely family who has taken me in as part of their own.
(Jim, Barb & Greg)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Play in Peace Day

This Friday, May 20th has been recognized by the state of Washington as "Play in Peace Day". As many of you know, I have been working with my classmates at McCarver Elementary School in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. Nearly four years ago, a little girl named Zina Linnik was abducted and murdered from her home in the Hilltop neighborhood. She was a student at McCarver, and the loss of Zina touched the whole community of Tacoma. Through grassroots efforts and community organizing, the Zina Linnik Project was launched. The redevelopment of McCarver and Wright's Park (which bookend Hilltop) was put into motion, and finally finished. Now, after years of hard work - the students get to finally see their efforts come into fruition. Please come help us recognize all of the work of the students at McCarver Elementary and the citizens of Tacoma and celebrate "Play in Peace" this Friday starting at Wright's Park and ending at McCarver Park. Every student deserves to be able to walk in their neighborhood without fear.

Friday, April 29, 2011

UWT urban studies program

grad invitations created by the talented Nichole Spears at: http://www.oliveand

Many of you know how much I love my Urban Studies community. I feel like our program attracts many like-minded individuals who I connect with in ways that are so different than any other relationships and interactions that I share with other people in my life. I feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity to meet and truly create friendships that have made me feel part of an inspiring group of intelligent, funny and retrospective friends that are completely different than any of my other friendships.

Kenntith, Dani, Damon, Me, Glenn, Stuart, TraeAnna & Meghan at DOA:

Dani, Damon and myself

I've gained so much growth in education, social awareness, politics, and becoming embedded in local policies that can change the lives of marginalized communities. Thank you to my favorite Urban friends, you've challenged me, made me think of things from different perspectives, and love the diversity in our program.

Glenn, Stu, Trae & Meghan

All my life I have been exposed to the typical NW upbringing... predominantly white public institutions and being completely either left out for the color of my skin, or assumed that I am a certain way because of my heritage. I have never felt so excited and in many ways comfortable being exposed to friends from many different backgrounds: African American, multi-cultural backgrounds, Mexican, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and many other Asian influences through being a student at UWT.

Meghan, Me, Trae: European Reunion!

It is difficult to explain, but the sense of feeling like people of 'color' in an academic setting is the first time in my life where I have been able to experience it and absolutely LOVE it! Race is not supposed to be an issue, but when you've grown up with only white influences I cannot express the personal growth and acceptance of yourself for being outside that "American Identity Norm"... which in my opinion is complete bullshit. We are all Americans, so stop assuming otherwise.

Me and Gerry in San Francisco over Spring Break... incredible!

This is quickly turning into a rant about race - but my point is, is that Urban Social Hour needs to be a reoccurring event that I am more than happy to organize. I always come home feeling truly energized and challenged with my ideas and theories that we debate during these gatherings.

Tim has been my Urban Studies Bestie for the past two years... we've shared at least one class together every quarter for 2 years plus a life changing trip to Europe... he is basically a great friend!

I always look forward to geeking out on social, urban, environmental and local policies and truly being able to debate these issues with respect and the knowledge to balance out our differences. I absolutely love the UWT Urban Studies Program, and in particular not only my colleagues, but my amazing professors who know me on a first name basis... the advantage of going to a small school.

  • Dr. Lisa Hoffman is a brilliant woman who has hired me for undergrad research. She has been really tough, but is clear as to what she expects from you. She is a tough cookie, but has been a mentor to me, guiding and is so passionate about reaching disenfranchised communities. Cities & Citizenship changed my world Please read her book, Patriotic Professionalism in Urban China: Fostering Talent
  • Dr. Yonn Dierwechter is beyond brilliant. He is one of those academic scholars who is so smart he can't keep a thought long enough to teach it in your curriculum. But learn all you can through his lectures. He also has wonderful quotes that have been recorded, if you're interested! Also have to plug him and Pendras' summer study abroad in Holland and Italy... incredible!
  • Dr. Mark Pendras is also a professor with high expectations. That's what I love about him... he expects a lot -but gives you examples and guidance that surpasses any other professor in the department. Community and Economy was challenging but I learned so much, I feel it is imperative for students to take this class to better implement changes in their communities. City and Nature is an amazing class that changes your perspective on how we perceive nature and how cities impact those feelings. Also have to plug him and Dierwechter's summer study abroad in Holland and Italy... incredible! *side note: he is incredible for a capstone advisor... available, informative, and keeps you on tract - and I need a lot of guidance!
  • Dr. Anne Wessells is so passionate about urban waterfront, ecology in urban applications and lets be real - an easy 'A'... I recommend her sustainable development policies and urban studies seminar. She has knowledge as a planner and various academic research that of course gives her the credibility to give you the tools to apply these lessons in the 'real world'. *also, she has the most extensive vocabulary which will blow you away!
Enough ranting, but what can I say? I'm going to miss you guys, and expect for some of us we will remain lifelong friends. Hugs, love & light... keep in touch my urban awesome besties!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Homemade Sushi Night

Last night Greg and I went to my brother's house to visit with him and his lovely partner Lisa. Lisa and I have been devising a plan to make our own sushi, and finally got a chance to test our skills! Here are some pics of our sushi creation, I think they turned out pretty incredible!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mind, Body, Spirit Connection

My journey as a healer continues at the beautiful space at Maya Whole Health Studio, where I get to be a part of an amazing community of practitioners. Maya offers acupuncture, skin care, yoga, pilates, and massage in a beautiful space that encompasses all the philosophies that I believe in... holistic, mindful intentions, and positive energy. Please come and check out this incredible community of healers and find your inner peace!