once upon a time in Los Angeles

Once upon a time I decided to leave my hometown of Miami, FL and head west. Having worked in the entertainment industry for 20 years, I figured heading to Los Angeles would be a good option to find some steady work. After a few months of crashing in the living room of some extremely generous friends, I finally found a studio that I absolutely fell in love with. Now, anyone who lives in LA will tell you that the most important thing you need is parking and that it had. The rest is whatever makes you happy; and what I wanted most was light. I needed a large window because I need light in whatever space I inhabit. The only other thing on my wish list was a window in my bathroom...and my wish was fulfilled. 

I love design and Pinterest is my best friend. When I stepped foot into my studio, I immediately felt a Shabby Chick/Boho vibe. Los Angeles has some of the best flea markets that I visited often and from where many of my furniture pieces came. Being that it was a studio of almost 300 sq. ft., I needed to maximize my space. I wanted to create living spaces, so there is a mini foyer and a mini dining room. Using a drop leaf table, I was able to expand it whenever I needed a bigger area for working on my photography. I also added a curtain to divide the kitchen from the rest of the apartment using an Ikea cable rod. 

Other design elements that I incorporated were all my travel souvenirs. In my bathroom, I was able to display all my postcards collected from around the world. I used double sided tape so that I wouldn't ruin walls...I wanted my deposit at the end! My favorite part of it all was watching the sunset from my one window. They were the best daily gift I received from Mother Nature and I couldn't have asked for anything more. Thank you Los Angeles for such an amazing year! 


when the parents came to visit...

my parents had never been to california and trust me, they've been around the world and then some. it was thanksgiving weekend and their 44th wedding anniversary, so there was a lot of celebrating to do. their trip started in downtown los angeles. i had created an itinerary of the area for them, including where to have lunch (grand central market, of course!...which they missed, but that's another story). we then traveled to malibu for brunch, drove down the coast, past santa monica, venice beach...the whole enchilada. on that sunday after mass, we took off to joshua tree national park. my parents, who live in florida, don't have anything like it anywhere near them. i knew they would enjoy being there as much as i enjoy going. 

for thanksgiving, we drove up the pacific coast highway to see my cousin and his wife who live in daly city, right outside of san francisco. the drive was educational because my dad kept googling anything we were curious about: why is it called "camino real"? and who was van nuys?. we managed to catch the sunset crossing bixby creek bridge. i learned my mother was dramatically afraid of heights. 

san francisco is always a great getaway. we went down lombard street in my green fiat, we had the famous clam chowder soup inside a sourdough bread on the pier, and you know we had to hit up napa! i treated my parents to a wine tasting tour of the mondavi winery where we laughed a lot after the tasting. 

this isn't my first time traveling with my parents, but it was certainly the best trip we had ever taken. i'm adding some pics from my parents cell phones so that you can get their POV as well. 

dia de los muertos

a mexican tradition, el dia de los muertos is a day for remembering the departed. families and friends head to the cemetery to visit those who are in the after life and honor them with gifts and offerings. often, the families will prepare their favorite foods and hang out at their graves. in los angeles, the hollywood cemetery celebrates this holiday and everyone is welcome to participate. i have been dying to witness this for a long time and i finally was able to make it. it just so happened that my friend venus was getting her make up professionally done, and there was one more spot open for me! i couldn't miss this opportunity and i'm excited to share these pictures with you. 

girls fantastic voyage

my friend Viv loves nature like no other person i know. if you go to her instagram account @vivworld, you will see what i mean. at home, she surrounds herself with plants, fruits and vegetables that she grows with her amazing green thumbs. she makes delicious meals from her own garden and lobster that she catches herself in the keys with her hubs. so in between production gigs, she made up her mind (and a great itinerary) and invited me and her friend Venus to join her on what became the #girlsfantasticvoyage across national parks from los angeles to san francisco. on this trip, i saw snow for the first time in my entire life! we were in awe of the sights, sang "america the beautiful" and ended our trip under a full moon in the hot springs of mammoth lake. Viv's friend Danny and his dog Blu were excellent hosts while in mammoth lake. if you haven't done this trip yet, please plan it now; and if you already have, then do it again and bring more friends this time around. 

Celebrating Luna

My dear friend Alejandra is having her first baby and she hosted the baby shower for Luna in Kenneth Hahn park in Los Angeles. Let me first tell you that Ale is a master at DIY and these pictures will prove that. All the sandwiches were hand made and individually wrapped with love by her sister-in-law and yours truly (I wrapped them). Ale baked and designed the cake. She also made these tiny succulent plant decorations as souvenirs. Her aunt had sent her a beautiful macrame wall hanger and her mother had made a gorgeous dream catcher, and Ale thought that it would be a great spot for guests to leave notes for Luna. The day was sunny and breezy, and we all enjoyed the home made sangria while listening to her dad's records. It was definitely a unique baby shower and one that I believe should be all over Pinterest! Can't wait to meet Luna!