Celebrating Global Wellness with Four Seasons Aviara

Earlier this month we celebrated Global Wellness Day at the Four Seasons Aviara in Carlsbad, a small little coastal town just north of San Diego. It was our first trip as a family this summer and we decided to hop on a plane the day after the girls ended their school year. Probably not the best idea, but hey leave it to us to try something at least once. We missed our original 6AM flight. It was stressful a bit chaotic, but it all worked out.

We arrived to San Diego and checked into the Four Seasons a day before Global Wellness Day. For those of you who don’t know, Global Wellness Day was established in Turkey as the “first” day dedicated to living well. It’s celebrated on the second Saturday of June every year. The purpose of Global Wellness Day is to ask the question, even if for just one day, “How can I live a healthier and better life?”, to direct the thoughts of both individuals and society towards “living well” and to raise awareness.


The moment we checked into Four Seasons Aviara we were immediately greeted with the most amazing service and healthy snacks provided by Chef James from the on site restaurant Seasons. The perfect snack that we needed before we headed off to the pool to unwind before our family paddle board adventure.

One of the things I appreciated about the pool menu from the Four Seasons Aviara was the healthy options they offered such as the raw veggie wrap that I ate that was filled with garbanzo beans, sprouts, hummus, and a whole lot of greens. I like to think that my family eats “healthy-ish” and having a variety of options that fills everyone’s needs is always a must for us when choosing a place to eat or stay on vacation.


After our pool time we did one of the most fun things we could’ve ever experienced as a family, stand up paddle boarding. It was our first time experiencing this. If you’ve never tried stand up paddle board, I highly suggest it. It’s actually a lot easier than it looks and there’s something so peaceful about gliding over the water. Stand up paddle board lessons were a part of the Global Wellness Day offerings, but something that Four Seasons Aviara could set up for their guests at any time. The lessons happen at a lagoon not too far from the hotel and they arrange transportation to and from the lagoon.

After our stand up paddle board lesson, we headed back to the Four Seasons to freshen up for dinner at the Seasons.

The Seasons is located at the Four Seasons Aviara and features a farm to table menu that emphasizes on what’s local, seasonal and organic. We had an incredible dinner experience filled with delicious food and exceptional service.

Four Seasons Aviara hosted a range of different activities for Global Wellness Day from yoga to mala bracelet making. They also offered a different brunch menu for the day that offered healthier options to celebrate Global Wellness Day and to show their hotel guests how easy it is to integrate healthy and tasty options. We participated in the Family Yoga session they had, Olivia wanted to make mala bracelets, and we got to do a cooking class as a family which was my personal favorite activity.

The Plant Now, Thrive Tomorrow cooking class with Chef De Cuisine James Waters was our favorite activity. It was a hands on interactive demonstration that the girls and I got to enjoy with a small intimate group. Joanna Traiilov taught us the importance of incorporating seeds into our diet and how beneficial it is in helping balance out women’s hormones during their menstrual cycles. The girls loved every moment of this cooking class. I think for any parent who’s struggling to integrate healthier options for their older children or teenagers, cooking classes are one way to teach them how to be healthy.

As we ate the grain salads that we made, Chef James prepared an Ahi Poke dish for us that was perfect snack for our afternoon pool session.

We only spent two nights at the Four Seasons Aviara, but I could’ve stayed for an entire week! The service was amazing, the food at the Seasons was absolutely perfect, and they had everything on site that I needed from a gym, yoga deck, and two pools to enjoy. Not to mention Seasons which also offers an incredible dining experience in the kitchen and the kitchen counter which allows you for a more intimate dining experience with the ones creating your meal.


The main goals for Global Wellness Day are

  • To recognize the value of our lives

  • To pause and think, even if for just one day of the year

  • To be free from the stress of everyday city life and bad habits

  • To make peace with ourselves

  • To raise awareness about living well and increase motivation, not just for today, but for the remaining 364 days of the year

I would have to say that the Four Seasons Aviara definitely hit all those points for me and gave me a moment to sink in and drop into myself. I left feeling inspired to evaluate some of our family’s wellness lifestyle. I feel like a broken record saying this, but 2019 hit us hard as a family. Life has been incredibly busy in a seasons of growth and change as individuals. Our first year as high school parents, I went back to school, Jonathan has been working on changing up and rebranding his photography business, and Olivia still remains the joyful little girl that she is.


We couldn’t have been more grateful to take a day to slow down, break free from a little bit of the stress, and pause to take a moment to reevaluate the things we value in life, our wellbeing. I’m thankful for the generosity of Four Seasons Aviara for inviting us to celebrate Global Wellness Day with them.

We were able to get away from our day to day lives to focus on our wellness as a family, but you can do also do this together anywhere. Wellness isn’t just about trips or getaways, although for me its a huge part of my own self care practice, wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. Look at the different areas in your life that you want to improve and start with small little steps to do that. It could be as simple as getting into a better sleep routine.

Charcuterie board is perfect for the keto diet

I’m not a believer in a specific diet. As a matter of fact I’m a firm believer of bio-individuality. Bio-Individuality means “There's no one-size-fits-all diet – each person is a unique individual with highly individualized nutritional requirements. Personal differences in anatomy, metabolism, body composition and cell structure all influence your overall health and the foods that make you feel your best. Men eat differently than women, children eat differently than adults, and we all have very different preferences. Our personal tastes and inclinations, natural shapes and sizes, blood types, metabolic rates and genetic backgrounds influence what foods will and won’t nourish us.” 


What I love about being a little bit more flexible with my dietary needs is that I get the chance to define my health by my terms through exploring what works for me and my needs, something I encourage my clients to do when they work with me as their health coach. This allows for more lifestyle freedom working towards an overall wellness goal of balance and harmony in all the things that one loves and enjoys, like charcuterie which happens to be keto diet friendly!

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. (source)  The “keto” in a ketogenic diet comes from the fact that it allows the body to produce small fuel molecules called “ketones”. Ketones are chemicals made in your liver and is produced when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to turn sugar into energy. 

In our house, a charcuterie board is the perfect lunch, snack, or dinner. It’s our go-to for entertaining and always makes an incredible centerpiece for intimate gatherings. Charcuterie boards are keto friendly because you’re basically cutting out the carbs and intaking a high amount of fat. Hello cheese and meats!

To make a keto friendly charcuterie board you’ll need:

  1. Meat, one that I love is from Columbus Craft Meats

  2. Cheese - a combination of soft and hard cheeses (I love a 6 month sheep’s milk manchego and a goat cheese soft brie)

  3. Fruits that are low in sugar, such as berries

  4. Veggies - if you want to add them for more variety

  5. Nuts - my favorite are marcona almonds that are lightly dressed with olive oil and sea salt. 

Bending the rules for entertaining

Since no one in our house follows a specific diet I like to make sure that my charcuterie boards have options for everyone to enjoy. I love adding things like Nabisco’s Triscuit. Triscuit is 100% Whole Wheat, simple, and made with wholesome ingredients. It’s non GMO verified which is typically the main thing I look for when it comes to healthy eating. I also include Wheatberry clusters on the charcuterie board. A wheat berry is a whole, unprocessed kernel of wheat that contains all three parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. (source) One thing that I’ve come to love about Triscuit Wheatberry is that its a great alternative for a granola snack and pairs perfectly with meat and cheese.


Safeway is a grocery store that’s dedicated to sourcing amazing products like Columbus Craft Meats, which is one of our favorite charcuterie brands. They are crafted in San Francisco and have been around for over 100 years. In 2018 they substantially transitioned to anti-biotic free meat due to their stubborn pursuit of high quality meat, a journey of the company since day one. As a part of their journey they also began a process they call “clean label” where they will also be eliminating artificial colors, flavors and phosphates. They make a great selection of meats and for charcuterie boards I really enjoy having a mix of salami — dry italian, genoa, and sopressata. Our girls love prosciutto so we’ll add that too when we’re feeling in the mood for it.


We LOVE wine! When I first started my fitness journey I was told by my fitness coach that I couldn’t have any wine during my 12 week transformation. It was definitely heart breaking to hear because I love a good glass of Pinot Noir with dinner. As time passed I learned that you can live a healthy lifestyle while indulging in little pleasures like wine. We have several wine memberships throughout Napa Valley and one of them happens to be with J Vineyard. We’re fans of J Vineyard’s selection of bubbles and their Pinot Noir. Their 2016 Pinot Noir opens with aromatic notes of black cherry and baking spice and pairs perfectly with cured meats and cheese.


I like to keep my charcuterie boards really simple, but let your imagination run wild with it. What do you put on your charcuterie boards? Comment below and let me know.

This post was sponsored by Safeway and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own.

I’m a sexual trauma survivor, and I’m learning to love myself day by day

I’m a sexual trauma survivor, and I’m learning to love myself day by day

Strong women fall down, but they also get back up. Our experiences in life don't need to define who we are and what we are going to become. They are there to mold us, but they do not dictate our outcomes. We can still choose how we want to write our stories and our happy endings despite the hardships in our own lives. We must choose to find the opportunity in our struggle rather than allowing the struggle to suffocate our light.

Why Collagen Is a Must-Have Supplement in My Routine

Why Collagen Is a Must-Have Supplement in My Routine

There are so many ways we can incorporate a collagen powder into our diet. Right now I use a Type I/Type III blend and add it to anything from matcha lattes to smoothies. It’s completely unflavored and 1 serving has 14g of protein! What’s great about collagen as a protein supplement is that it isn’t a whey or casein protein which are proteins derived from milk. Whey and Casein protein supplements can irritate sensitivities in many people and can also be hard on the gut. Collagen is actually the opposite in that it helps heals our gut and intestines.

The Stories My Tattoos Tell - Part 1

Body art has a deep ancient history with humans. Lots of cultures used body art as a way to convey messages and meanings of human experiences and expression. I have always had a love for body art, in the form of tattoos and piercings. I always believed that body art was a form of self expression and celebration of a story or meaning that one wants to create an artifact of.

The Stigma Associated with Body Art

Despite its popularity in today’s culture, body art is still stigmatized in modern day society. There’s a prejudice that people with tattoos are unprofessional, irresponsible, a drug abuser, someone who has trouble with the law, or might carry have socially undesirable characteristics. The stereotype is such bullshit and it’s definitely one I’ve encountered several times in my lifetime.

My experience with judgement

I experienced this judgement from everyone around me. My parents and my family members judged my tattoos. This I expected because I am first generation Filipino-American and our different upbringings already created a difference in a number of perspectives in how we choose to live life. What I didn’t anticipate and what was harder to comprehend was the judgement other women especially older mothers who came from different generations or cultures. Maybe I had this expectation that motherhood was already hard enough and somehow we could find some commonality in that struggle.

By the time I was 26 both of my arms were fully covered by 3/4s sleeve tattoos. I was about to take on a full time Director role at a start up company, I was a highly accomplished hairstylist, and was also about 3 years into running a business with my partner Jonathan. Despite all of those successes, the stereotype and judgement that was imposed on me because of my tattoos were still things I needed to dodge.

One of the stories I needed to constantly reinforce within myself was that I was an incredible mom, despite the judgements from other parents or people that I got because of my tattoos. I was different and being different was both my superpower and kryptonite. I wanted acceptance and belonging, but most importantly I just wanted to be seen for my characteristics and not judged by my outside appearance.


The Stories My Tattoos Tell

I got my first tattoo at 16. It was a tramp stamp. Back in the 90s and early 2000s getting a lower back tattoo was all the rage. Although it gained a terrible reputation claiming that women who got a tattoo on their lower back was slutty, I got it there because it was the one place I thought I could hide a tattoo that I really wanted at that time from my parents.

At 16 I wanted to find a way to celebrate this second chance of life that I had gotten. It had a been a year after my suicide attempt and I wanted to find a way to express this moment in my life with permanence. At the time my obsession for Egyptian culture had began. Erykah Badu was one of my favorite musicians and her songs soothed a lot of the pain I had experienced in my upbringing from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

Read more about my sexual trauma on my two part interview with No Grace Kelly: Part 1 and Part 2


The story behind tattoo #1.
The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol and represents the word life. I was on this journey of overcoming some of the trauma of my suicide attempt and I felt I had been given a second chance at life. The sun around the ankh for me represented the largest source of life giving energy available to the world. I once read that it was a symbol of the universe coming together and agreeing with your path and aiding forward movement into something greater.

I knew that I was given a second chance for a reason, it was just up to me to discover why.

My left sleeve tells the story of new beginnings. I decided on my left sleeve at the age of 19. It was such a bold move for a 2nd tattoo, a bold move for any tattoo really. I knew that I wanted a 3/4 sleeve to document pieces of my story that I was closing the chapters to. I had just moved out of my parents house for the first time. I was just finishing cosmetology school, which was a battle to convince my parents that I was pursuing my passion instead of becoming a nurse (hello Filipino daughter expectations), and I had fallen in love and for the first time I felt safe enough to allow people in to my own love. I wanted an archive of these chapters and I wanted to do that in the form of body art.


A 3/4 sleeve was the most ideal length of a tattoo sleeve in my opinion. It was large enough for the artist to fully express the story I wanted to tell. The length also gave me the room I needed to wear a long sleeve that was rolled up and still be covered in the event I find myself in a professional environment that wasn’t as open or accepting to body art culture. Thankfully, living in Silicon Valley the mindsets are a little more open, but you still never really know what people are truly thinking.

My left sleeve: lotus flowers and water

My left sleeve: lotus flowers and water

For my first sleeve I wanted something that looked delicate, but not to the point where it was overly feminine. I loved the idea of getting water or waves tattooed on me because water is one of those elements that cleanses my energy. It grounds me and centers me when my emotions are feeling chaotic. In some way I wanted to be close to water and what better way than to tattoo it on my body.

Lotus flowers are a symbol of rebirth. The flower itself blooms in some of the most unlikely of places. The roots of this flower are based in mud and submerges daily into murky water. Not only does it find sanctuary in the muck, but due to the waxy protection layer on its petals, its beauty is blithely unaffected when it re-blooms each morning. The lotus flower resurrects itself daily through the mud and unclear waters, which reminds me to do the same daily.

My left sleeve also includes the constellation of a scorpio because that is the astrological sign I resonate with the most despite being a Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp.


On my upper left shoulder I have the sun and the moon. The sun and the moon have so much meaning to me. I mean I got a sun tattooed on my body twice and both on my back. As I mentioned the sun is a representation of life force, an unconditionally giving form of energy that constantly nourishes and regenerates life. The moon in this particular tattoo represents the light and life that guides us through the darkness. Without the moon, we can’t appreciate the glory of the sun and vice versa. The sun and moon also represents day and night, which to me is a reminder of balance or what I love to refer to as harmony.

My left arm also goes from water to the night sky representing that same sort of message of coexistence. It’s also a reminder of love and true partnerships. Like the sun and moon, both have different roles for sustaining the earth. They each have unique talents and purposes in life, but together they are able to provide light to all sorts of different creatures and I think that’s pretty damn awesome. The moon is always there— waiting, evolving, and a constant in the night sky.

I’ve decided to create this as a series because as I started writing this post I had realized that each of my sleeves have such an incredibly deep meaning and story behind them.

I hope you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for the next one.