"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
When in Idyllwild a couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon this amazing Chocolate Café -
El Buen Cacao.
The make chocolate straight from cacao beans from Central and South America. They specialize in dark chocolate, but while we were there we ordered some Chocolate Milk Shakes. They were the best shakes I've ever had in my life. The best word to describe the chocolate there is: FRESH!
Chocolate is one of my favorite things! It always makes me smile and never disappoints, and this is some of the best chocolate I've ever had.
This weekend we went up to Idyllwild to celebrate my niece Lylah's 8th Birthday. Ronan had a blast hanging out with his cousins, exploring the woods, and spending time with his Uncle and Aunty. We all had fun exploring the quaint mountain town and taking in the beautiful scenery.
Explore. Enjoy. Learn.
is the Best Time!"
The many faces of Ronan Hakota...
The Birthday Girl!!!
While in Vancouver, we had the opportunity to go to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia and it was an amazing experience. A person could spend hours there, but our time was limited and so was our two-year-old's attention span. The art there was amazing and it's definitely a place that I would love to go back and visit again.
Pacific Northwest Native Art
The carvings and totem poles of the Pacific Northwest Indigenous Peoples reminded me so much of the carvings and artwork of my Maori people of New Zealand that I couldn't help but feel a reverence and awe looking at these massive works of art. The detail and size of some of these pieces was amazing and the Pacific Northwestern Peoples now hold a special place in my heart.
"The exhibition features Amazonian basketry, textiles, carvings, feather works and ceramics both of everyday and of ceremonial use, representing Indigenous, Maroon and white settler communities. Today, these groups confront threats caused by political violence, mining, oil and gas exploration, industrial agriculture, forest fires, and hydroelectric plants. Challenging visitors to examine their own notions towards holistic well-being, the exhibition covers more than 100 years of unsuspected relationships between Vancouver and Amazonian peoples, ideas, and their struggles.
Rights of Nature departs from a social philosophy, known in Spanish as “buen vivir”, in which the concept of a good life proposes a holistic approach to development that intertwines notions of unity, equality, dignity, reciprocity, social and gender equality. The concept aligns directly with value systems intrinsic to Indigenous South American cultures, and serves as a rallying cry to move beyond Western ideals and practices of development and progress largely measured by profit."
-MOA, Amazonia: Rights of Nature
Layers of Influence
"From birth to death, humans are wrapped in cloth worn for survival, but more importantly, wear clothing as an external expression of their spiritual belief system, social status and political identity. This stunning exhibition will explore clothing’s inherent evidence of human ingenuity, creativity and skill, drawing from MOA’s textile collection — the largest collection in Western Canada — to display a global range of materials, production techniques and adornments across different cultures and time frames."
-MOA, Layers of Influence
This exhibit was amazing, especially since I'm currently in the business of selling clothes and very interested in fashion. Fabrics, cloths, and textiles from all over the world were on display. Each region had their own beautiful and interesting designs and materials. There were even Korowai from New Zealand on display and Tapa from the Pacific.
I'm currently a Massage Therapist at South Coast Winery's, Grapeseed Spa. I've been a licensed therapist since 2003 and I love what I do. Today I'm going to share some tips when planning a spa day at a resort or day spa that include amenities ( i.e. jacuzzi, steam, sauna). Because every mommy deserves to take time for a massage day to help get re-energized, here are some tips to make the most of your time at the spa:
Don't be on time. Be Early!
Most places suggest to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment . Unless you are the first appointment of the day, I recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour to check in and decompress.
Bring a Bathing Suit.
Or pay the price. Most spas carry suits for sale just in case you forget. But you will definitely pay more on something you already have.
Leave it at home.
Jewelry should be left at home, but I understand that if you are going out afterwards you may want it. So leave it in your locker. I'll always ask a guest to take off a necklace and rings, because they get in the way of the massage. Sometimes a guest will put them in their robe pocket, forget about them and it ends up in the laundry or worse, lost forever.
You get what you pay for.
Unless you upgrade. Read or listen closely to the services being offered. Many times a person books a light to medium pressure style massage then wants a Deep Tissue massage. There's a difference between services. The more energy/strength exerted by your therapist equals a higher price for your service. Also if a treatment solely focuses on a specific area for the entirety of the service i.e. the back. Don't expect a full body massage. Remember to know what you are buying/receiving. If you're allergic to essential oils, then don't book an aromatherapy session.
Relax & Enjoy!
Don't be so uptight. Just go with the flow. Enjoy your time away. Try to put all of your electronics to the side, and don't be afraid to try new things and experience all of the amenities the spa has to offer. Make it about relaxing and meditating and recharging away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
On our trip to Canada we drove from Vancouver to Kelowna and had to pass through a city named Mission, BC, which happened to be the home of an amazing Native American artist named Peter Wayne Gong. Greg had been following Peter on Instagram for several months and decided to reach out to him. While we were there we found out that Peter had just gotten out of the hospital after having heart bypass surgery and yet he still told us to come on by his shop.
Peter is a Coast Salish artist and member of the Squamish Nation and carves and paints various Pacific Northwest Native American pieces like bentwood boxes, rattles, masks, paddles, and more. He and his wife, Darlo, were amazing hosts and spent their time showing us Peter's studio, art pieces, and sharing stories from his culture. It was am amazing experience meeting such an inspiring artist and a generous person.
Follow Peter Wayne Gong on:
Driving between Seattle and Vancouver on I-5, we noticed these stunning Orca statues in front of the Tulalip Casino & Resort and decided we needed to pull over to get a closer look. We figured the casino might have some art exhibits to look at and needed a break from the road anyways. Inside, the casino was extremely beautiful, but we must have looked very out of place carrying around a 2-year old amongst the slot machines because this nice lady came up to us and asked if we needed any help. We responded that we were from California and just stopped because the resort looked beautiful. She directed us to the hotel portion and gave us some recommendations. We walked over to the main entrance of the hotel and the totem poles were stunning!
As my husband was taking pictures of the totem poles with Ronan and I in front of them this same nice lady came running up to us and said, "Okay you need a family picture now!" After the picture she asked us if we had any interest in visiting the tribe's museum. We were ecstatic! She told us to wait right there while she got us complementary passes to the Hibulb Cultural Center.
We had the entire museum to ourselves and what we thought would be a 30 minute walk-through turned into 2 hours of interactive family fun and personal enrichment.
One of the best parts of our time in the museum was being able to talk with Cary Williams, the Museum Assistant. As he shared with us stories from his grandfather and people, our authentic cultural exchange was uplifting and inspiring. Greg and I will forever be grateful for the time he shared with us even past the museum closing. As we shared our experience with Cary about how we happened upon the museum he told us that it had "called to us" and we truly felt a spirit of truth in that statement. As both of us are descendants of whale people, his ancestors the Killer Whales and mine Paikea, I can only feel like we were drawn there for a reason.
The museum gift shop was full of incredible art from indigenous artists and companies and even local tribal members. It is so important to learn about indigenous people and support local tribal artists whenever possible.
Cary explained to us that we are living in a time where the song of our ancestors is calling to us and as indigenous people we are uniting in our similarities to find the lost canoe full of all of the good things of the earth.
Hibulb Cultural Center was definitely a highlight of our trip! I would recommend the Museum to everyone and can't wait to continue to learn about the Tulalip Tribe and return to visit them again.
My husband and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary with a trip to Canada to visit my cousins and surprise my Aunt and Uncle for their 49th Anniversary Party combined with their 70th Birthdays. You may think that traveling with a two-year-old is crazy, but we've had a great time. We're so lucky that Ronan is such a good little traveler, but here are a few tips to make traveling with your toddler a pleasant experience instead of pain.
1. Tire them out!
Before you choose to visit a restaurant or museum or have to make a long drive, find a cool park or place where you can let them run. You'd be surprised at how fun it can be to visit parks in different places. Going to the park is a great way to experience the beauty of a new city and an inexpensive activity for the entire family. Once your toddler gets all their wiggles out they will be much more manageable at a place that requires them to be quiet.
Stock up on some of your toddlers favorite treats. It's okay to spoil them a little. Remember that you are taking them out of their normal routine and comfortable environment and want them to associate travel with something they like. Go ahead and give them some extra treats for the road.
It's something we never have enough of, especially while on vacation. Remember to take time out from your travel schedule to dedicate directly to your toddler. Toddlers need time and attention. If you plan time to dedicate to making sure your toddler's needs both physically and emotionally are met then everyone will be much happier in the long run. You may have to sacrifice seeing everything you want to see, but the memories you make with your toddler will last you a life-time.
Tantrums will still happen, that's natural, but following these three tips has helped us to have great trips with our little guy.
Above all else, when you kids are missing home, teach them from a young age something my husband's grandparents would always say to their children when traveling:
"Home is wherever Mommy and Daddy are!
You can't miss home when home is right here."
If you want to teach your toddler to travel, make this your motto and make sure they feel that it is the truth.
Thinking back to our trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands, with my brother Hagoth and his family last year.
The people of the Cook Islands are Maori but with a more tropical infusion. In fact while we were there we saw the place where several of the Great Maori Canoes left and made the voyage to New Zealand. They felt like a Maori - Samoan mix just like me.
The island itself was beautiful. Clear water, fresh coconuts, and tropical beauty all around.
But the best part was seeing these three babies be right at home on the island. Cheeehooo!
My Sister and I are currently on a Road Trip with our eldest sons. Ronan and I flew to Texas and Erana and her son, Lione drove there. Now the four of us are driving home to California with a few stops in New Mexico and Arizona. We are having lots of fun and should be home by the end of the week.