Tuesday, April 12

Santa Barbara

This past week I took an impromptu trip to Santa Barbara with my Niece Savannah, my Nephew Justice, my Sister Sarah, and her Husband Pat. She came up Friday night to spend the night in Malibu with me and brought the kids and I just wasn't prepared to leave them Saturday so I just had to go with! First things first, my love for my 'muffins', as I often refer to them, is unconditional. I love Savannah and Justice more than I ever thought was possible to love another human being. The amount of joy, innocence, and zest they have for life is inspiring. They are truly, two of the most amazing little people I know. A large part of this has to do with their amazing Mom for raising them in such a fabulous and respectable manner. She is the best Mom I've ever seen. So, Saturday we packed up the car--it looked like we were going on a vacation for a month--and we set out for Santa Barbara. We decided to take the Coastal route because it was such a beautiful day. This was a great idea until we hit Oxnard and took a major detour through Downtown Oxnard--not the best place in the world. Despite our hiccup/lapse in judgment, we arrived in Santa Barbara just in time for lunch where we ventured to Sate Street. Both my sisters and my brother-in-law went to UCSB so this is their territory--their stomping ground for sure. We headed to natural cafe where I indulged in the most sensational chicken burrito--so good that I almost ate the whole thing--and then luckily proceeded to walk up and down State Street for a few hours. I was able to walk some of the burrito off at least. Following our stroll we went to our Hotel, The Monecito Inn, which brought back so many fabulous memories. We then ventured down to the spa so that Savvy and Justice could sneak in a pre-dinner swim and quickly returned shortly after to get ready for our fabulous meal at Blush. Blush is an absolutely wondefrul restaurant that everyone should go to when in SB. My brother-in-law programmed the music for them!

The next day we woke up early to attempt a visit to the zoo. After sitting in stopped traffic we finally asked what was going on and we were told that it was "Dia De Los Ninos" at the zoo--aka day of the kids. It was so unbelievably crowded that we turned around and opted for a much better option--the aquarium at the pier. This was fabulous. We explored the sea life in the aquarium, took photos on the pier, and got ice cream for the kids. I can't think of a better end to the weekend than this! Overall, my weekend in SB was incredible with my muffins and I am so thankful that I went. Here are some photos!

Favorite Quotes and Vereses (as of today)

"No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love”.
I Corinthians 13:3

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”.
Romans 12:12

"Things will happen that we cannot understand; but, if we are sure enough of God's love, we can accept with serenity even those things that wound the heart and baffle the mind".

Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart!   
Ecclesiastes 7:3

Sorrow under the power of divine grace, performs various ministries in our lives.  Sorrow reveals unknown depths of the soul and unknown capacities for suffering and service.  Lighthearted, frivolous people are always shallow and are never aware of their own meagerness or lack of depth.
Sorrow is God's tool to plow the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests.
Out of adversity comes greatness. 

In Christ alone I place my trust, and find my glory in the power of the cross. In every victory let it be said of me, my source of strength, my source of hope, is Christ alone.

Life is an adventure of forgiveness 
"And so I tell you, keep on asking, 
and you will receive what you ask for.
Keep on seeking, and you will find.
Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you" 
Luke 11:9

Blessed are all they that take refuge in him

What a beautiful place to call home...

What a beautiful place to call home. I am so blessed that I grew up in Washington and was granted the opportunity to cruise aboard our boat throughout the San Juan Island's and up into Canada as a child. My favorite memories as a child are as a result of these opportunities that I had granted by God. 

Letter from God

People have always told me to write myself a letter from God outlining my achievements and anticipating what God would say to me today. So, as a way to deal with the stress that is finals, my best friends graduating, and moving on with life, I thought now would be the perfect time so here it is.
            Dear Chelsea,
I am very proud of your accomplishments thus far.  I am excited that your hard work has brought you to such an amazing, inspiring University where you can further explore your relationship with me.  I want to develop a closer relationship, instead of just talking to me when you are in need of something; I want a relationship that inspires you to communicate with me every day.  I know that it is often challenging to grow up in a household where values are forced upon you, but I have faith that Pepperdine will be the perfect place for you to explore your own beliefs.  Your desire to serve others is impressive and I hope that you continue your passion to serve others.  I am confident that you will make a difference in society.  I am aware that many people see you in a negative light due to prejudgments based on your appearance but I know the real you.  I know the loving, selfless, intelligent, and determined person that you are and I know that others will be enlightened when they become closer to you.  Never take your life for granted as your loving Mother and Father have provided you with amazing opportunities.  Honor your father and Mother and you will be blessed.  Do not get caught up in the Los Angeles scene, as it will only tarnish your character and lead you astray from the importance in life.  Look around you and realize how blessed you are to be in such an incredible place. Open your blinds and gaze outside the window, do you see the stunning ocean view?  Few college students across America are lucky enough to be in the presence of such a beautiful creation.   Remember, you have a beautiful heart and use that to your advantage.  Go confidently in your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined and you will continue to be blessed.
With All my Love,

Wine Tasting with the Girls

Turning 21 brings about a wave of emotions and excitement. While turning 21 is truly a milestone, it marks an era that requires responsibility and accountability. Turning 21 reminded me of the fact that when I graduate, I will only be 22. This is now a year away. The thought of moving on from life as I know it is terrifying, stressful, and overwhelming at times. Despite my nerves and fear about the future, I had a phenomenal 21st birthday celebration. I am truly blessed to have such inspiring and amazing friends. To celebrate, we embarked on the Malibu wine tour train and enjoyed a very rainy day of love, laughter, and celebration. Here are photos from the day:

The Malibu Wine tour began around 11am and ended around 4pm. This day was so fabulous. We were picked up from my apartment in the Malibu grapes van and were then whisked off to the Rosenthal Estate Winery on PCH for four tastings. We enjoyed our time there and especially enjoyed the Surfrider Sauvignon Blanc. We then traipsed up Malibu Canyon in the torrential rain to Cornell Winery where we enjoyed another four tastings and the Saddlerock Pinot Noir. The ambiance of this tasting room was incredible. It was so rustic and unique. Vintage chandeliers and candelabras adorned the room to inspire a cozy feeling. Next, we went to the Cielo Estate tasting room off Kanan. This tasting room was so adorable. Our group was nestled into a cozy corner complete with blankets and an excellent snack tray complete with grapes, delicious cheeses, crackers, and delicious wine. This tasting room was by far my favorite. We tasted another four wines but they were very generous...need I say, we stayed there the longest. My favorite wine from this adventure was the Honeypie Woodstock Collection. Normally this wine retails for about $35 but they told them to my group for $24! My friends and I loved Cielo so much that we decided we will be making monthly trips to the tasting room.

Palm Springs

For Spring Break my friends and I drove to Palm Springs. We prepared for a week of fun, sun, love, and laughter. Naturally, we rented a house to stay in that was titled "The Sexy Compound" on their website. Instantly, we knew that we were in for a week full of memories. Here is a recap of the week...

Day 1: We arrived around 4pm at the Sexy Compound. We called Nona, the 90 year-old property manager, and she directed us to the SC. We instantly fell in love. The Sexy Compound was all we could have asked for and more. Complete with a spacious casida, a pool, a jacuzzi, and five bedrooms, we knew that this compound would serve all of our needs. We instantly began to celebrate and took full advantage of the SC.

Day 2: We woke up around 9am to clean the mess in the SC that looked like a category-5 hurricane had trampled through. We then prepared a delicious breakfast complete with egg whites, turkey bacon, and toast and immediately ventured outside to begin day 1 of tanning. Our horrifically pale bodies definitely needed some color. After a fabulous morning day in the sun, the best afternoon of my life happened. Four of my girlfriend's and I went to the backyard and laid in the grass for three hours straight--talking about life and eating delicious bean dip. The conversations that we had and the experience will forever be engraved in my heart.

Day 3: More and more sun occurred which worked wonders on our self-esteem. We laid by the pool all day long listening to music and having great conversations with our beloved friends. Two of our best guy-friend's drove up to Palm Springs and surprised us with their visit which was fabulous! That night, we went to Dell Taco, which was the most hilarious experience of life. There must have been a retirement home convention going on because there were literally 90 people in Dell Taco over the age of 75 years-old. They were so adorable. They were all joining in fellowship with one another over fast Mexican food, however, they were prepared to be there all night long. They brought board games, homemade desserts, and their smiles. They were so happy and elated to be there. It reminded me of just how blessed my life is and how when I am 90, I hope to enjoy the simple pleasures of Dell Taco and fellowship.

Day 4: Even more sun. By Day 4 we were all exhausted and ready to go home but we rallied and decided to make the best of our last day/night. We decided to go out to dinner at this Mexican restaurant called Blue Agave, which turned out to be quite a hilarious experience--definitely one to remember. Our cab ride home that night was nothing short of unreal. Our driver proceeded to discuss her love life with us in great detail, despite the fact that none of us asked for this. Disturbed by our unnecessary conversations and graphic imagery left behind as a result, we all climbed into the CalKing bed and channeled our energy towards the most amazing and inspiring blog ever--Stylemepretty.com. My four girlfriend's and I looked at this blog for almost three hours, exploring the infinite possibilities of love and beauty.

San Francisco

This year, I have been trying to explore as much as California as possible and have tried to venture on weekend trips. It is so strange not being able to take the train to Paris on a Thursday night and return on Sunday night. So, to make up for my travel related depression, my friends and I decided to venture to San Francisco for the weekend! To make the six-hour drive easier, we drove to Santa Barbara early Friday morning for brunch. We chose to eat at the cutest little restaurant on State Street. We had a delicious meal and phenomenal mimosas. We then ventured on and finally arrived in San Francisco around 6pm Friday night. After a long, arduous drive we were so thankful to finally be there. My Brother-in-Law DJ's on the side and he happened to be DJ'ing at a little dive bar in the city called Butter. My two sister's and my two friend's and I hopped in a taxi and arrived just in time! This dive bar was hilarious. It was 'trailer trash' themed and included a food stand inside that featured 'trailer trash' food such as tater tots, mozzarella sticks, fried mac & cheese, and buffalo wings. We definitely partook in the trailer trash food-ordering and loved every minute of it.
The next day we woke up early to explore the marina. We ironically ended up running into Justin Burn's, who is my childhood's best friend's brother. He invited us up to his rooftop deck to view the most amazing view ever. The view looked out over the SF bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. It was truly amazing and reminded me of how beautiful SF is. I feel so blessed to be able to travel throughout the United States and to experience life to the fullest.

The next 5

       6. The Great Coral Reef, Australia
  • The World's largest Reef system, comprised of over 2,900 reefs and 900 Islands. They are located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in North-East Australia. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. They have also been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Threats to this site include climate change, pollution, crown-of-thorns starfish, oil spills, tropical cyclones, and fishing are the primary threats to the health of this reef system. 

       7. Bali, Indonesia
  • Bali is an Indonesian Island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33 provinces. Its 3,891,000 people account for most of Indonesia's Hindu minority. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including traditional and modern dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metal-working, and music. My sister traveled to Bali a few years ago and came back with amazing stories and fabulous tapestries she adores. She said the people are so humble and are amazing. 

       8. Istanbul, Turkey
  • Historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. With a population of 13 million, Istanbul is the largest metropolitan city proper in Europe and the second largest metropolitan area in Europe. Famous sites in the city include the Turkish baths, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Markets, and the Hagia Sophia. 

       9. Cinque-Terre, Italy
  • Cinque-Terre is a portion of the Italian Riviera compromised of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Cormigilia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Noted for its beauty, the paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach it from the outside. It is a very popular tourist destination that boasts sensational beauty.

      10. Niagra Falls, Canada
  • Located in Ontario, Canada, these Fall attract millions of visitors each year. They are formed as a result of natural occurrence from the Niagra River. 

Ten Places I want to Visit

After traveling throughout Europe for the academic year, 2009-2010, I have developed a passion for travel. There are so many places that I would love to explore but for now, here are my TOP 10:

  1. Zanzibar, Africa
  • Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the Tanzanian Coast.  It is an incredible Island that is said to be one of the only surviving Ancient towns in Africa characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs. Zanzibar’s local people are an incredible mixture of ethnic backgrounds, indicative of her colorful history. Islam is the dominant religion. Zanzibar is an island state within the United Republic of Tanzania, and has its own semi-autonomous government made up of a Revolutionary Council and House of Representatives. The current President is Amani Karume. The economy is primarily based on fishing an agriculture produced by the local peoples. Zanzibar is a hidden gem of Africa and is a place that I would love to visit at some point in my life. 

       2. Machu Picchu, Peru
  •  Rediscovered in 1911, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Incas began building the remarkable site around AD 1430 but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. 

       3. St. Lucia, Caribbean
  • An Island Country in the East Caribbean Sea, this gem boasts truly sensational beauty. Since February 22, 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations. This volcanic Island features beautiful beaches and mountains. This would be the perfect honeymoon spot someday...

       4.  The Taj Mahal, India
  • This Maosoleum located in Agra, India is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As one of the most recognizable strucutes in the world, The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Mughal Architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles. This amazing structure was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his third wife. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of eternal love.

       5. The Pyramids, Egypt
  • As of 2008, there are 138 Pyramids that have been discovered. Most were built as tombs for Pharaoh's and their consorts during the Middle Kingdom era. The Pyramids of Giza are accounted as the largest structures ever built. The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.