Learning to Meditate: Clearing My Mind Before Going to Sleep

Hi friends,

Learning new things and about other cultures is fascinating to me. I believe in personal growth and continuous improvement. Over the past years, I have learned from my experiences, and have become a more positive, balanced, and reflective person. Guess it comes with age – and experiences (good and bad experiences). To a certain degree, I have also become a calmer person, a more understanding and accepting person. I work everyday on trying to be appreciative and demonstrate gratitude for the many blessings I have, to let go of the things I cannot control or change. In the past few years, I have adopted the motto, “As long as someone is not hurting me or affecting me (or a loved one/others) in a negative way, then I just let it be and focus on the positive things in my life.” I can only control my words and actions, not those of others. Life is short, I try to enjoy it and am trying to live in the moment, which can be hard to do with my type A personality.

In the past, I have practiced yoga and found it to be relaxing. Lately, I have had so much on my mind and find it challenging to turn off my thoughts even during yoga. My thoughts just enter my mind a thousand miles a minute, making it difficult to get into my “yoga relaxation zone.” Sometimes, it is exhausting to have so much on my mind. Exercise and yoga have always helped me de-stress, and I am hoping to get back to that place soon – where I can clear my mind and make the best decisions.

I had read about meditation before and have been reading more about it in the past few weeks. I have become very interested in the subject and am trying to learn how to meditate. The first meditation technique I learned during a class was from Brooke Bunge, yoga instructor, at Calistoga Ranch. Brooke told me to relax in a comfortable position, focus on my breathing, and either to repeat a word of choice or to count my breaths. By word of choice, she meant a word that applied to the moment, if I wanted to relax to repeat that word, if I wanted change to repeat that word, if I wanted clarity, to repeat it, you get the drift.

Since we returned from Calistoga, I have tried to meditate every night before I go to sleep. I start by laying on my back (in bed) in a comfortable position, then repeat the word “peace.” Or, if I have had a very hectic day, I repeat “relax”over and over. I place my hands on stomach so I can feel the breathing and be aware of it. I start with deep breathes and then gradually more relaxing breathes. Many thoughts drift through my mind (mostly my “to do” list, or things that happened during the day, or thoughts of things that are months away), I just try to keep repeating the word and visualizing what “relax” represents for me. At some point, when I am ready to go to sleep, I turn on my side because I can’t sleep on my back. Then, before I know it, I feel relaxed and fall asleep without the hundreds of thought continuing in my mind.

I have also tried meditating at the gym as part of my cool down after exercising. I’ll share more about what seemed like loooong 10 minutes of meditation in one of my next posts. I have also found some interesting materials to read and a meditation that will be done globally. Oprah will also be hosting a free 21-day Meditation Experience, along with Deepok Chopra. I signed up for both. I’ll write about these soon!

Have you meditated? What do you think of meditation?




Birthday Celebration at Spa Velía

Hi friends,
As you know, Lola is one of my closest friends. Every year for her birthday, I try to get her a special gift. It is challenging to shop for a gift for her because she is a minimalist and in addition to that, practically already has everything she wants. She lives in a beautiful penthouse condo downtown with a minimalist decor, so she does not like to accumulate too many things. A few months before her birthday, I start to pay attention to things she points out when we go shopping or things she mentions in conversations.

This year, I had purchased a few small gifts for her, but was missing the key main gift. Like me, Lola has a busy schedule and sometimes does not have the time to go to a spa or simply pamper herself. But, she really likes spa days, just like I do. So, when I received an invitation to visit Spa Velía, I saw a light go off, like magic, aha! I had found the gift! This year it would not be an item, it would be a memorable experience! The gift I gave Lola this year was to buy a massage for her and set up a spa day! Even though we have been friends for many years, we had never gone to the spa together. She has a home in Baja and goes there almost every weekend, which is probably why we hadn’t been to a spa together since I usually go to spas on weekends. I looked at Spa Velía’s website and learned that they are open everyday. On weekdays, they are open from 10:00am – 9:00pm, Saturday 8:00am – 9:00pm, and Sunday 9:00am – 7:00pm. We could go on a weeknight, making it the perfect option! As much as I wanted to surprise her, I had to book the appointment, so I had to tell her ahead of time. She was excited and so was I! We booked the appointment two weeks ahead of time and were looking forward to it!

The spa is located downtown, in the Harbor Club Towers, across from the Convention Center. We were going to walk from her home since it is just a few blocks away, but it was windy that day, so we asked her husband to give us a ride. We did walk back after our massage, which was perfect because by then it was dusk and the weather was a warm spring evening!

When we arrived we were greeted by their friendly staff and escorted upstairs. We were given a quick tour of the spa. The lights at the spa are kept dim, even in the hallways, so you are in the zen as soon as you walk into the elevator. The music is relaxing and everything is immaculate! In addition to the massage rooms, there are rooms for skin care treatments, and a steam room with lavender eucalyptus oil. We went to the dressing room and changed into robes and sandals, which are provided by the spa. The robes are black, which is different from other spas I have been to that usually provide light color robes. The black robes give it a touch of chic and style!

Marcy, was the massage therapist that gave me the massage. We had a nice conversation, mostly at the beginning of the massage because I had all kinds of questions. I am always interested about learning new things. I asked about the spa and herself. The spa used to be located in Little Italy and moved closer to the downtown Gaslamp area to an expanded location. Marcy has been working there for more than five years and from my massage, I can tell you she knows what she is doing! It was one of the best massages I have ever had! It was deep and she touched pressure points. My massage was from the top of my head to the tip of my toes! When she was massaging my hands, I could feel it all the way to the top of my arm and when she massaged my feet, I could feel it all the way to the tip of my head! Amazing! It was a deeper massage than I am used to, but it was fantastic, I had some tension and knots on my neck and she focused on those. She also used a technique to stretch my neck which I had never experienced. I have had a neck massage before, but never like this, it felt very relaxing, like a yoga stretch. She used organic sunflower oil, which was also a new experience for me. My skin absorbed it easily, leaving my skin feeling very soft. Lola and I got the 50 minute Velía Vitality massage, which is based on Swedish and circulatory therapies. Lola’s massage was given by Lily. Lola said she also greatly enjoyed her massage!

After the massage, Lola and I met at the relaxation lounge area which has plush sofas and a large table. There was tea, fruit infused water, cookies, fruit, and nuts. We were treated to the signature champagne, their pomegranate mimosas. It was delicious! We spent about two hours in the relaxation room talking, enjoying the classical music and amenities! Our spa visit was a little more than three hours and we enjoyed every minute of it!

The prices at Spa Velía are very reasonable, starting at $50 for the 25 minute Velía Vitality massage, $90 for the 50 minute massage. They have multiple options for skin care, massages, waxing, and body care. They also have spa packages and spa parties. There is a nice shop with candles, skincare products, and jewelry.

I plan to come back! Maybe for a spa day with my husband, then we can go to dinner or for a walk afterwards, since the restaurants in the Gaslamp area and Seaport Village are just a few steps away! I’ll also keep it in mind for spa days with friends and my sis! Or, simply come on my own to relieve the stress of a long week! Next time, I may get the purifying facial. There is a good promotion for first time visitors, $20 discount on each new service. The best way to book an appointment is on the Spa Velía website or by calling 619-235-0000.

Lola and I said we’d come back in a few weeks. We both work hard and take care of our families, we owe it to ourselves to get pampered every once in a while!! As Lola said, “this was wonderful and the best way to let go of the stress of our day!”

Special thanks to Samya for the invitation and to the Spa Velía team for making our afternoon at the spa a wonderful experience!


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Lola checking in as we arrived to enjoy an afternoon at the spa to celebrate her birthday!

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DSCN9902 The ladies dressing room.


This is the room where I had my massage…ahhh, it was bliss!!


The relaxation room….we met here after our massages, we were in heaven!



Lola enjoying the signature mimosa! Next to her is Lily, the massage therapist that gave her a massage.


This is Lily, she gave me my massage. It was one of the best massages I have ever had! I was so relaxed afterwards, I even look a little sleepy in this picture, haha!


The tea section.


The tea cups went perfect with the spa’s theme.

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Lola and I enjoying the amenities, and toasting for her birthday.



I want to print this picture and remember this everyday! I had lots on my mind that afternoon, but was able to clear my mind at the spa and focus on that moment….to enjoy time with my friend and celebrate her birthday!


We looked around the store before we left. There are lots of skin products, candles, and jewelry. In addition to buying items for oneself, this is a good shop to buy gift items!
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These Aura candles are made locally. It is nice to see that the shop at the spa carries local products!


We both left feeling relaxed, pampered, and happy to have dedicated some time to ourselves with massages!

DSCN0033 I took these last two pictures on our walk back to Lola’s home. These are the Harbor Towers where Spa Velía is located.


The walk was the perfect ending to a blissful afternoon at the spa!

Easy Tip to Sleep Better / Consejo Facil Para Dormir Mejor


pen note pad 1

Hi friends,

Do you ever find that your mind starts to wander about all the things you have to do? This seems to happen when we are finally laying down, after a long day, to try to go to sleep. Our mind starts to write this list of endless things we need to do, not just tomorrow, but this week, this month, for the birthday party coming up….for work, and on and on.

When you write things down, it helps you get them off your mind. I keep a note pad, sticky notes and pens in my night stand. This way, if I have something I need to do, I write it down. If I need to make sure not to forget a particular item in the morning as I am rushing to leave for work, like a scarf or a heavier jacket, I write it down. I stick the little note on my nightstand next to my alarm clock. This way, I see it when I wake up and it is also next to where I place my purse, so I am sure to see it before I leave the next day. Sometimes, I will even bring the sticky note with me downstairs, because by the time I leave the room & get to the door, many other thoughts have already gone through my mind and I may forget the item. Trust me, it has happened before. Having the note in my hand serves as a reminder, yet one more time 🙂  It works like a charm for me.

You may want to try it. Let me know if it works for you. Next time you are trying to get to sleep and can’t seem to clear your mind, write your “to do” list or the thing that is worrying you. It should help you get it off your mind….and clear your mind so you can get some z’s.

Do you keep a note pad or sticky notes and a pen in your nightstand?  Do you use another method to clear your mind before you go to sleep? Do you use another method to remember an item you need to take with you the next day?



 pen note pad 2 alarm clock note

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Winter Pedicure – Do You Get One? / Pedicure Invernal

DSCN7968 Hi friends,

Do you get pedicures during the winter season? I get pedicures on a regular basis. Every four to six weeks I go into the nail salon and get a spa pedicure. It is fantastic, a little “me” time. Sometimes, I don’t have time to get to the salon and will paint over the polish, in an attempt to stretch the pedicure a few days until I can get to the salon.

Recently, I went on a vacation with my hubby to Orlando and was glad I had a pedicure, so my toes were sandal and beach ready!

Of course, living in Southern California, w can pretty much wear open toe shoes year round, but it does get cold for a few months during the year. This is when we bring out our boots and wear socks with our shoes. Some of my friends don’t get pedicures during the winter season because they say their toes aren’t visible in the boots. This got me wondering about how many women don’t get pedicures during the winter?

Do you get a pedicure on a regular basis? Do you gat a pedicure during the winter season?



ESPANOL: Hola amigos,

Se hacen pedicure durante el invierno? Yo voy a hacerme pedicures regularmente. Cada cuatro a seis semanas voy a la estetica y me hago un pedicure. Es fantastico, un poco de “tiempo para mi.” Aveces no tengo tiempo de ir a la estetica y me pongo pintura de unas encima del pedicure para alargar el pedicure unos dias mas hasta que tengo la oportunidad de ir a la estetica.

Recientemente, fui de vacaciones con mi marido a Orlando y estaba contenta que ya tenia un pedicure, asi mis pies estaban listos para sandalias y la playa!

Claro, viviendo en el sur de California, practicamente podemos usar zapatos abiertos gran parte del ano. Pero, si hace frio algunos meses. Esta es la temporada cuando sacamos las botas y usamos zapatos con calcetas. Algunas de mis amigas no se hacen pedicures durante el invierno ya que dicen que sus pies no son visibles en botas. Esto me hizo preguntar, cuantas mujeres no se hacen pedicure durante el invierno?

Te haces pedicures regularmente? Te haces pedicures durante el invierno?

Un abrazo,



I spent lots of time wearing these during our vacation…glad my toes were sandal ready!

Pase mucho tiempo usando estas durante nuestras vacaciones…..que bueno que mis pies estaban listos para usar sandalias!


I also spent lots of time relaxing with my feet up 🙂

Pase mucho tiempo relajando, con mis pies elevados 🙂

pedicue pool orlando

And relaxing by the pool.

Y relajada junto a la alberca.

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Life’s Everyday Joys: Weekend Showers


Hi Friends,

I am going to write a series based on life’s little (and sometimes big) things and moments that bring us joy – ok, these bring me joy, hopefully they bring you joy as well ;).

Our everyday lives and days may be packed, right? Mine are. Sometimes, I wonder if life would be simpler if I tried to do less, but I realize part of my happiness is learning, exploring, traveling, growing in my profession and as a person, and the most important – time with family and friends. So, I accept that my schedule is busy because I choose it to be. I have also learned to say “no” to commitments when I know it will just be trying to pack in too much into my day or week, which result in me being too tired. When I am too tired, I get cranky (& I don’t like being cranky).  I’ve also learned that it is ok to sometimes just relax, that I don’t always have to be doing something productive. As they say, the “Art of Doing Nothing” (I actually have a book titled that).

I have always been appreciative of the blessings I have. I now try to stop to acknowledge these blessings and be grateful. These blessings can be big and can also be simple things that bring joy to my life, perhaps the beauty or comforts of everyday life. Those little moments that make us smile or sigh. Like admiring flowers, the ocean or beach, a good cup of coffee, a long shower, a vacation, sleeping in on a weekend, taking off our work clothes and getting into our pajamas at the end of a long day….you get the idea. That is what this series will be about. What do you think? Do you like it? Feel free to send me ideas on topics and things that bring joy to your everyday life! I’d love to hear from you!



Life’s Everyday Joys: Weekend Showers

On weekdays, I shower super fast in the mornings. A fast shower for me is about 10 minutes. Add 5 minutes more on days that I wash my hair (ladies you understand). I have been able to take showers in 5 minutes when I am in a super hurry! On weekday mornings, I am constantly looking at the clock, to make sure I get ready fast & out the door on my way to work. My mind is racing about things I need to do at work.

On weekends, I really enjoy being able to take a relaxing shower, particularly on days when I don’t have commitments or a work function.  I used to work, usually making appearances, attending events as a special guest, or as an emcee, about two to three weekends per month. In the past two years, I have cut that back to about one to two work events per month. I still have personal commitments and outings on weekends, but those are with friends and family, so it’s more casual and I don’t have to get as done up (not as much make-up & hair). On those weekends when I don’t have commitments, I will enjoy the shower, listening to the water, letting it fall on my face, ahhh….so relaxing. I will also apply a deep conditioning treatment in my hair, soak my feet and use a moisturizing exfoliator. I’ll use a special body wash and sea salts to exfoliate. Sometimes, I will apply a clay mask on my face just before and rinse it off in the shower. During the shower, I’ll reflect on projects I am working and on life projects, on family, and also just enjoy the “me” time. These longer showers help me feel relaxed, yet also re-energized at the same time! They help clear my mind!

So, next time you can spend a few extra minutes in the shower, enjoy it! Give yourself that little “me” time. Look at the water as it flows out of the shower head, let it fall on your face, listen to it…..use a special body wash with relaxing scents, don’t rush, stay in the shower as long as you like, just enjoy it!

Have you ever thought about the joys of weekend showers? Do you take long showers? How long do you usually spend in the shower on weekdays? Do you use any special body washes you like and recommend for us?



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Glass showers are my favorite, it makes the space seem larger, which I find relaxing.


Seeing & hearing the water flow from the shower head is relaxing! It is refreshing when it wets my face.


The deep conditioning hair mask I use, it works wonders for my hair!


This clear Glaze adds shine to my hair.

I have been using this body scrub for a while now, love how it leaves my skin soft.


I use this Sally Hansen brush to exfoliate my feet, I moisturize them afterwards, it helps keep them soft.

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