A SoCal based psychologist whose work feeds an insatiable wanderlust.

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2017 Yearly Roundup


It may feel a bit early for a yearly round-up but I think the holidays are going to be a crazy whirlwind this year, so I wanted to share my highlights with you now. 2017 was the year of change. Not tons of travel, but since this is also part career blog, I guess it is very appropriate that I have been able to share some fun work-related adventures with you. Read on to see what the highlights were for this hard-working, travel mama. 

Japan Pop

Takashi Murakami at The Broad

I can't help myself. I love all things inspired by Japanese Pop culture. I joke that in my next life I want to come back as a Japanese girl and my Asian friends have dubbed me an "honorary Asian." Remember when Gwen Stefani had that Harajuku obsession? It's something like that...

I think it must stem from being an 80's kid and Hello Kitty being such a big deal when I was growing up. Ever since then, bright colored, cartoony characters have always appealed to me. I mean who doesn't love the smell of a Sanrio store? I try to incorporate Japan Pop where I can; from my Sanrio pens and pencils at work (no one wants to steal those!) to my tokidoki Tiger sneakers. And although it has a deeper meaning than just a cute design, I also have a tokidoki character tattoo. Hands down, my favorite contemporary artist is Takashi Murakami with his trippy, yet adorable characters that adorn gallery walls and my only two Louis Vuitton bags. One of his signature pink cherry blossoms also has a permanent home on my skin. 

Fortunately, there are a number of fun events, especially here in So Cal that revolve around this much-adored genre of pop culture.  Here are a few of my favs over the years. 

The 5 Best Things About Disneyland at Christmas


Here in Southern California, the Disneyland Resort is our mecca for all things Christmas. We don't have a Rockefeller Square or any other wintery wonderland to call our own unless we venture up to the local mountains deep into December and maybe after the new year, if we are lucky. So many of us turn to the most magical place we know to get us in the spirit starting in early November. Here are my top reasons for enjoying, specifically, Disneyland  although Downtown Disney, the hotels, and California Adventure go all out as well with special events and activities. Read more about those on the Disney Parks Blog. These are things you can enjoy on any given day during the holidays without getting there first thing and staying until dark.  

Day of the Dead


Like most kids, I'm sure, my daughter is a Halloween-a-holic.  She can't wait to set up decorations and has her costume picked out in August.  Recently her interest in Day of the Dead celebrations has heightened with such kids' entertainment as The Book of LifeElena of Avalor, and Pixar's upcoming Coco. So, I promised I would take her to a Dia de los Muertos even this year and fortunately there were plenty in the SoCal area. Here is how our colorful day was spent. 







Food Heaven in Anaheim





Want one central place where you can eat your heart out in an adorable, airy setting? Then get your booty over to the Anaheim Packing District in Orange County.  I've heard about this place for a few years now, but generally only travel to Anaheim to spend time with my favorite mouse. 

8 Perfectly Haunting Sights in Prague


1. Marionettes

Our biggest regret is not buying a marionette from Prague. The city has several marionette shops with wicked carved characters dangling from their ceilings. They were so creepy, but there was also something charming about this ancient tradecraft of theatrical woodwork in this unique city. 

L.A. Not So Confidential


One of the most common questions that I get asked by future psychologists is, "How much does the real job mimic what we have learned through the media?"  

What an excellent question and I'm glad you asked! 

It's no secret that the media influences our lives as much as we allow it to. Subconsciously, it shapes our worldview, sense of self, and expectations. That has probably never been truer than now.

But the desire to work in the criminal justice field and the love of all things true crime probably stems from some variable of media for most people that choose to go down that poorly lit road. Although many influences shaped my interest, I rarely admit that it was a fiction book that sparked my interest in the field of forensic psychology. If I (and the rest of the world) hadn't been reading those damn Alex Cross books by James Patterson in the early 2000's, I'm not sure how I would've found my calling. Simply because the main character was both a detective and a forensic psychologist, I pondered, "That sounds super cool. I think I'll check that out." Next thing you know, I'm doing a Google search for forensic psychology doctoral programs.

Obviously, it doesn't really matter how you get there. As un-academic as my story is, I think it is a reflection of the times. In this moment of realization of how important media is for amateur sleuths and true crime buffs, as well as future criminalists, investigators, and forensic scientists of all sorts, I've decided to do something creative with this.

My best friend (whom I met at an internship working with recently released offenders) is a fellow Los Angeles forensic psychologist and we share a geeky nature in all things mysterious and investigative. So, in the near future, we are going to bring you a new podcast called L. A. Not So Confidential. We plan to essentially apply forensic psychology concepts to the true crime stories that we love and the related shows, movies, and books or podcasts that we spend way too much devouring in our "spare time" (whatever that is). It won't be too heady and we hope that it's hilarious and ridiculous at times. Look it up if you are interested! The episodes will be out soon and you can follow along for updates here:

Twitter: LAnotsopod
Instagram: LAnotsopodcast
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lanotsoconfidential

My New Bag Crush


This bag is pretty amazing. I've been loyal to some other staples for a long time and although I am still pleased with my trusty sidekicks, the Bianca Alles bag offered some cool features that those other bags do not. 

There's just a special 'je ne sais quoi' about a deviation from the norm that feels fun, special, and promotes the desire of getting to know something new. This bag fulfills all of the above. I am still discovering new compartments and ways to use the infinite amount of space. Probably the best of all, the Bianca is an expert shapeshifter. It's part doctor's bag, part equipment tote, and part backpack (You'll remember my new found love of backpacks here). 


Alles bags were started by a mother-daughter team (yay- more lady bosses!) who were less than thrilled about ways to tote all of their stuff to and from photo shoots (the daughter is a model). Hence, they came up with a wide variety of bags, including camera bags, that are ideal for travel and can store a lot in a contained space that fits in your hand or on your back. 




Here are the 3 things I love best about this bag:


The Zip-Off Box
Clearly, the most distinct part of this bag, the Zip-Off box, is genius. I'm sure most people use it for shoes, but I am thinking about all the ways I can utilize this boxy area when traveling (I put my DSL camera in here will shooting this article). It's sturdy and holds the weight of the top portion of the bag well.  I'm even thinking about the ways I can have my daughter use it as a tray table play space so her Legos don't go flying all over the plane! It's also a convenient place to store the backpack straps.

Color combo choices

The Bianca, in particular, has some great color blocking choices. Additionally, when you attach the bottom, it looks like a whole new bag with the addition of more black. They offer 3 different versions of their backpack/ bag combs. Have a looksy here

A place for everything and everything in its place
I swear, every time I use my Bianca, I find a new zipper or pouch.  I'm a sucker for compartments and having everything tucked into a specific space so I can find stuff with just my hands. There are both pockets on the inside and outside and everything on the outside zips up for safety. This is going to bring peace of mind the next time I lay the bag down on the airport x-ray machine.  


Although Alles offered me a sweet little discount, the Bianca speaks for itself and lends to all of my own opinions that you have read here. I can't wait to try it out as a carry-on for a flight next month!



Top 4 Things to do at the 2017 L.A. County Fair


The Los Angeles County Fair has a long and rich history dating back to the 1920's when the fair found its home in the city of Pomona. What started as an agricultural exhibit all those years ago, has transformed into the biggest, most quintessential county fair on the West Coast. Year after year, the L.A. County Fair plays host to all of the fair standards like carnival rides & games, crazy food experiments, and a top notch concert series. Read on for my favorite attractions of 2017. 

The Real Deal with Psychologist Pay in California


I do a fair share of speaking with high school students about jobs in forensic psychology and I still find that many have the mindset that it is a well paying career, no matter what you end up doing in the field.  And why should they think any different? If you are a psychologist and go to 10 years of school, you are a doctor and doctors get compensated well, right? Not exactly and definitely not right away. 


Fortunately most students or early career psychologists with whom I speak are primarily motivated by the need to have an interesting, fulfilling career in which they can help others and make a difference in the world. But let's face it compensation is, and should be, important as well.  

Cali Corner: The Best Kids' Museum in LA


I wouldn't necessarily say that the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History is a kid's only museum or that you have to have a child with you to go, because I love this place. It was my favorite as a kid and remains one of the best museums in Los Angeles in my adult opinion. When I was in elementary school, my class went here for a field trip and somehow my mom didn't know about it until afterwards. I remember her being so crushed that she wasn't able to chaperone, so when my daughter's school field trip came up I felt like I was making up for this oversight 30 years later. It was an absolute blast to experience this wondrous place through my kiddo's eyes. 

Cali Corner: The Best Female Owned Boutiques in LA



This article was originally featured as part of a another great collaboration I did with Dazey LA, an art apparel & accessories company based here in Los Angeles.  Its creator is extremely talented lady boss who believes in supporting other female business owners. Give her site a looksy here. You'll find some great T-shirts, product collaborations, and the Dazey Zine, which features articles from other creatives, tutorials, and other inspirational goodness. 

If you've taken anything away from browsing the Dazey LA website, it's that Dazey ladies love to support each other in their creative passions and professional endeavors. Building a business is no small feat and even in a city as big as Los Angeles, women can make the time to support each other. So for this article, we sought out boutiques that we adore, that also happen to be owned by some badass lady bosses.  

Twin Peaks in Pictures


I totally get that this is going to be a niche blog post for some very special fans of a certain cult TV show. With the return of our beloved Twin Peaks after 25 long years and the 2017 Twin Peaks Festival happening in about a week, I thought it was time to take my readers to the area of North Bend, Washington in the Pacific Northwest in order to share some of my favorite images of the area where the show (old and new) and movie were filmed. I attended the Twin Peaks Festival in 2005 when it was just a few of us coffee & cherry pie loving nerds in a small, intimate setting. If you are attending this year, I am jealous for the excitement that it will carry unlike any year prior, since we are all watching the wonderful and strange world together again. 

Quick Post: Keeping fit this summer with Aaptiv


This summer I've been inspired by the Aaptiv fitness app. I have managed to use a variety of their workouts to get more activity in my days even during this crazy LA heat. Aaptiv has a clean, sleek interface and offers an abundance of workouts without feeling overwhelming. I usually end up giving up on fitness apps for one simple reason- the trainers drive me nuts! Somehow, I have not found one Aaptiv trainer that annoys me. There really is something for everyone on this app from meditation to training for a full marathon. Here are some of my favs:

Maui Eats

Koa's in Lahaina

As promised, here's your guide to eating in and around Kihei and why I love these places. 

Maui Adventures Lite



We seriously did a whole lot of nothing on this trip, but then again that was the point.

This was a much needed family vacation that included Grandparents, old friends, and a kindergartner. After trekking the tallest peaks in So Cal and traveling a good deal last year, this was our week of spending quality time in paradise with loved ones who only come together a couple times a year. 

Wall Traveled in DTLA



It's been fun getting to know Downtown LA now that I'm working here most days.  I've been especially drawn to the DTLA Arts District, which is changing at a rapid rate. But among the pop-up clothing stores and terrific vegetarian restaurants, is an impressive amount of, well, art. 

Wall art to be specific. Each corner you turn is like walking into another room adorned with the most chic, extravagant wall paper. Art that addresses political views, features female empowerment, and there are plenty of Global Angel Wings to remind us that we are all citizens of the City of Angels.  

Behind the Curtain


I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Justin Trosclair, a chiropractor and podcast host, who highlights the work of doctors from various disciplines.  This summer, his podcast, A Doctor's Perspective, is featuring 8 female doctors and dives into the secrets of their success (Here's a hint: hard work), struggles in their work, and how they maintain their own mental and physical wellness. 

My interview (here) goes in depth into the work I have done with sexual offenders and touches on some controversial issues that I have had to deal with in my work with this population. I am also quite candid in how the work has impacted me and what I do to ensure I still have a fulfilling, untainted home life. 

I am passionate about mentoring early career professionals and I am confident that this podcast series will not only help students and young people learn about potential future careers, but will inspire already established professionals to learn about other disciplines in the doctoral world. Aside from focusing on giving our clients the best care, it is so important for us to support each other and continue to learn from one another. 

A Distant Mentality Turns One!


This is been quite a year! I started this blog mainly as a travel diary and a much-needed creative outlet, but it turned into so much more.

Over the past year I've been able to share my family's previous trips, I've highlighted my favorite places in and around Los Angeles, and the blog also became a career advice column of sorts. When I started out, I knew that I wanted to teach others how to incorporate travel into their work but this outlet has really allowed me to do so much more in that area; inspiring others to pursue the field of psychology.

The year's highlights for me have been a road trip through the Southwest, exploring the far-flung Pacific Northwest and Alaska, a work-turned-family trip to Denmark, and collaborating with other creatives and academics.

Cali Corner: My Favorite LA Sports Venue









I know, I know. Shocking that my favorite Los Angeles sports venue is not Dodger Stadium. It should be pretty obvious that I love baseball and I have been spending a lot of time near the Dodgers' home field lately, but when I think of my all-time favorite place to spend the day (and I mean all day), Santa Anita Race Track has my heart.

Nestled up against the San Gabriel foothills, the Santa Anita Race Track is a spectacular sight. Despite being in the midst of the great depression, the race track opened in 1934 to keep Southern Californians entertained. Many racing legends have been made here and you can still see celebrity trainers and jockeys on a daily basis.


But the aesthetics of the buildings are my favorite part. Green and yellow and properly Floridian, you truly feel like you are on a fancy vacation as soon as you walk through those gates. Additionally, the inside is over the top with tropical birds, golden chandeliers, and palm fronds wallpaper. Part indoor and part outdoor, the experience has something for everyone. There are shady benches next to sculptures and fountains and play areas for the kiddos in the center of the track (by way of underground tunnel, of course). 


My best suggestion for spending time here? 


Either come get breakfast early in the morning at Clocker's Corner where you can get table service while watching the ponies during their morning workouts. Or, arrive an hour or so before the first race and wander the grounds. Grab the "best turkey sandwich ever" in the clubhouse and choose your daily double.






The Saguaro Mommy & Me Getaway


I already wrote about why Palm Springs is so special to me and how it scorched its way into my heart throughout my childhood. It is for those reasons that sharing this special place with my daughter is all the more fulfilling. She's growing to love it too. What kid doesn't love splashing around in the pool all day and staying in a cozy new bed? My daughter used to refer to Palm Springs as "the white hotel" after we stayed in, you guessed it, a minimalistic white hotel when she was quite young.  But that all changed when we decided to do a mid-week getaway right before everyone descended on the area for Coachella. She now prefers "The Rainbow Hotel."