Tag Archives: California

Faraway Hills

I often get asked how I stay in shape or how I have so much energy. My husband calls it Crazy Mom Energy, thanks babe. So I thought I’d share a little bit about my eating habits, workout routine and most importantly how I keep a positive mentality.

Eating: This is a very “to each their own” topic. I don’t have any food allergies and I don’t follow any particular diet. I do make all (most) of our meals at home. I don’t count calories or macros. I eat real food. I like to make meals that are comprised of the least amount of ingredients possible per dish. Think, brussels sprouts (one ingredient), burrito (who knows what’s going into that). We do eat carbs like brown rice or white rice and whole wheat tortillas because I am not in the business of deprivation or starvation. I cook the majority of our meals to be about 80% plant based. Lately, I have been testing out non-dairy options like almond milk yogurt (I love Kite Hill) and grain-free options like making my own grain-free granola and it has done wonders for my digestive system. There are so many amazing real food companies out there now that have great chips and snacks made with very few and REAL FOOD ingredients. Also, I have pretty much cut sweets like cakes, cookies and pastries out of my diet. I absolutely do not refuse myself a treat if I’m offered one but I will tell you the honest truth, I don’t miss it. When you wake up full of energy you will thank yourself for that self-control. Which brings me to my next topic…

Exercise: There is no shortcut. Period. You have to get all of the excuses out of your system. I’ll be missing out on so much while I’m at the gym… It takes 20 mins to get there and 20 mins to get home and I have to be there for an hour and then shower!?!… I don’t want to mess up my hair…Ok, done? Your best self is waiting on the other side of those excuses. Now I won’t say that it’s so easy for me but I truly do enjoy exercising because I’ve been on the other side of those excuses for years.

They say it takes a village to raise a baby but it also takes a village to raise up and encourage a new mama. I am so grateful to my sister, my husband’s mom and brother-in-law who will drive out of their way to push Leighton around in the stroller for 40 minutes while I’m at my Pilates class. Most importantly, to my husband and my mom. If I get the idea in my head that I want to be active they either join in or work it out to help me make it happen. Having a supportive spouse is key. Investing in each other’s health is the best investment you can make for your children.

I used to hate schedules and group exercise. Since having a baby, I have tried to let go of self-manifested mental barriers. Now, I like schedules and group exercise- trust me those weren’t easy for me to give in to. I do Pilates MegaFormer classes three times a week at Pilates Plus Porter Ranch. It’s the absolute best full body workout. According to my Apple Watch, I typically burn about 350 active calories in 40 minutes. I don’t really know what that means in the scheme of things because I don’t count calories but I use that as sort of a model for my workouts and when I’m around 350 active calories I know I’m on track. Once or twice a week, I walk on the treadmill for about 30 minutes followed by high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is perfect for mamas with small babies because you can hit your cardiovascular goals as well as strength goals in a short period of time while baby is napping. I usually spend no longer than 20 minutes on HIIT with no breaks because I know my nap clock is running. Google HIIT for inspo, or you can always message me for specific moves I like.

Postpartum, as well as during my pregnancy, when I thought laying around sounded way better than being active I would weigh my options and tell myself, “You’re better for it.” I totally may have ripped that off from Nike but it’s true! You are BETTER FOR IT. You will never leave a workout thinking that you would have been better off organizing your spice cabinet. Like I said, my husband always remarks about my “mom energy”, well isn’t that an oxymoron? He is right though. Being forced to push myself through to seek out energy that just wouldn’t be there otherwise has caused me to be in a better place physically and mentally than before I had the baby. Which brings me to my next topic…

Positive Mentality: I have a six month old. I work five days a week, three in my office in Santa Monica and two from home. I have a give-or-take hour commute on both ends of my day. Truthfully, driving in traffic is more exhausting than taking care of a teething baby. But I use that time to catch up with friends and family on the phone, jot down blog and project ideas and drink my coffee! It was my “me time” even before I had the baby. You have to look at each part of your day as a way to get closer to your happiness and health goals.

We recently baptized Leighton (pics coming this week!) and before the baptism my husband and I had some lovely meetings with Father David at our parish. The conversations didn’t set out to be about any particular topic but they flowed so beautifully as though he knew exactly what our hearts needed to hear. While Father was sharing a story about a friend of his, he said a quote that has stuck with me ever since our last meeting that I wanted to share. He said, “Faraway hills always seem green until you get up close and see they’re filled with weeds.” That may sound a bit pessimistic but it was actually what inspired me to write this post. It had me thinking about body image and social media. Instagram and Pinterest can be great sources of inspiration for workouts and health goals but it can also create a terrible spiral of body comparing and shaming. Even worse, body comparing to photos that may be edited, cropped and filtered to not represent a real body goal at all. I am a real person. I am a mom and a wife. I don’t have a professional photographer following me around every day or a personal trainer keeping me on my fitness goals. I wake up everyday with a goal to say “Yes I can” to as much as possible and lay my head down at night proud of what I did and letting go of what I didn’t and committed to always being a work in progress. If I can do it, so can you. 🙂


On the days I’m not participating in group or gym exercise I love to be outdoors getting in my 10,000 steps and taking in nature. Last weekend, we took the baby to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve to check out the wildflower bloom occurring in the desert right now. We had rain the night before. As is typical with Southern California: after the rain, comes the wind. There were sustained 40 mph winds with 50+ mph gusts. Needless to say, the poppies closed up protecting themselves from the wind and cold- gotta love nature. But nonetheless, we had a nice day walking around.

Be kind to yourself and your journey.

xo, rootedinmoss

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Endless Desert

The thought of life passing by too quickly leaves me feeling uneasy. I’m always trying to slow down and listen to others more genuinely or enjoy more thoroughly. However, being pregnant can force your mind to think about milestones whether you’re trying to or not. Let me start by saying, that all pregnancies are unique and every woman has to find what works for her and her body. For me, I’ve found that pushing myself physically has helped me live each step of pregnancy rather than living inside a number (16 weeks, 6 months, third trimester…). What I mean is, by safely pushing myself to new physical limits whether its not passing up a 5 am workout, or trying something that’s outside my athletic comfort zone or by simply telling myself one…more…minute, has helped me connect with myself physically in the here and now as I slip further and further away from my former physical self. Pregnancy has taught me that there’s no stopping time, no matter how uneasy that may make me feel. But focusing on the “cans” instead of the “can’ts” has me focused on something other than the numbers and that’s something I like. Things may not go back to the way they were but what’s ahead is a new limit for me to push.

On my recent trip to Joshua Tree, I was on my usual hunt for an amazing sunset. This time was fun because my sister was with us and she got to see the behind-the-scenes madness, that is capturing a sunset out in the middle of the wilderness of a national park. We arrived about 90 minutes before sunset to a completely overcast sky but determined, nonetheless, to find the spot where I shot an awesome sunset almost exactly a year ago. Although there are many faces to the landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, it can also feel confusing and repetitious when you’re out there in the fading light. A few times we thought we were on the right path only to realize there was another mountain or hill blocking the horizon so we’d turn around, sprint back to the main road, laughing and screaming out into the expanse. With about 20 minutes to spare, it became evident the skies were going to open to an incredible sunset and that we were in the general area I wanted to be in. It was then a mad dash up a sandy hill dodging rocks and spiky bushes. All in all, our step-tracking apps logged each of us in around 2 miles and 10 floors in less than an hour (and six months pregnant for me!). The steps and sweat were more than worth it when the skies displayed three breathtaking phases to that evening’s sunset. I surely didn’t go into this trip thinking I’d be participating in a cardio and booty blast but I take pride in my determination to not put limits on what I allow to be possible for myself. Hey, I never knew I could make a human, so as I see it, the possibilities for myself are as limitless as the desert is endless.


Have Succulents, Will Travel: Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California is a city where beautiful xeriscapes existed long before it was trendy or environmentally necessary. Driving down any street in Palm Springs is a succulent lover’s dream, as most shopping centers and street corners are landscaped with drought tolerant plants. If window-gazing front yards isn’t enough for you, there’s the Palm Springs Historical Landmark, Moorten Botanical Garden.

Established in 1938 by desert plant specialists Chester and Patricia Moorten. The grounds are still family owned and operated by their son Clark Moorten. Each time I’m at Moorten’s I love to take the opportunity to chat with Clark and listen to his stories about Palm Springs in the 1960’s or the interesting array of critters he’s come across on the property. Moorten’s houses over 3000 varieties of plants and a most impressive Cactarium, a greenhouse which is home to many rare plant species. For a very small admission fee you can walk the grounds and enjoy the scenery. I don’t typically go here to buy succulents but they do have a small selection for sale.(below: I purchased from Moorten’s in May 2015).
They also have an eclectic selection of pottery and garden decor. Every time I visit I always pick up one of their two-toned pots for future projects. You may have seen some of their pottery selection on my InstagramI’ve been to Moorten’s during winter and summer and I’ll say a trip during summer isn’t for those shy about sweating! I would definitely recommend visiting in either winter or spring. Hours of operation are limited in the summer so be sure to call ahead or check their website before planning your trip.


Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium
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1701 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264. moortenbotanicalgarden.com

If you’ve been to Moorten Botanical Garden, I’d love to see your photos. Tag me on Instagram @rootedinmoss!

In Search of Open Space

Like so many other people and plants, I was born and raised in California. I have visited and briefly lived in many other cities across the country but I have always kept my home base in the Los Angeles area. The opportunity to visit somewhere new or far from home is what I live for. After each trip though, I always feel a slight depression when I’m headed back home to LA. I find myself sitting in my morning commute looking around at the other drivers wondering why everyone wants to be here. The traffic, the noise, the attitudes…over time I’ve begun to blame these feelings on California as a whole. As if I don’t remember all of the great trips I’ve taken in this vast and topographically diverse state. During summers and winters and sometimes on weekends, I grew up on the roads of California. Reading books, listening to my parents’ music, imagining what existed off the highway beyond what my eyes could see. Certainly the onset of my fondness for exploring the unknown. And years later, I knew I loved my husband when I realized that he too loved a long drive. We don’t have a song but you could say the sound of the desert road whizzing by and the ocean breeze swirling around us has always been our jam. California provokes me to leave and yet inspires me to return. Upon the mountains, through the forests, within the farmland, along the coastline, it’s terrain so dramatic with so much to explore. Just when it seems that people are moving into every nook around me it’s, ironically, California that reminds me that the open space is plentiful and here for me when I need to escape close to home.    


image2-3Autumn is my favorite time of year to take road trips. Below are some of my favorite drives in California.

Highway 46, between Paso Robles and Cambria. Along this 60 mile drive you’ll pass by many wineries and vineyards. In Templeton, a must-stop is Jack Creek Farms, a fifth generation family farm, where you can buy fruit, vegetables, baked goods and do a honey tasting (highly recommended!). You’ll end up at Highway 1 just south of Hearst Castle.

Highway 1, between Cambria and Big Sur. Probably the most beautiful 90 miles you’ll ever drive. A coastal drive with dramatic changes in landscape from plains-like beaches to clifftop views of the Pacific Ocean. Ragged Point Inn and Restaurant perched atop a cliff in Ragged Point, CA is a great pit stop for food with a view.

Carmel Valley Road (G16), between Carmel-By-The-Sea and Greenfield. Depending where you start this drive it’s about 40 miles, 1 hour. Scenic mountains line the valley, surely an area that inspired John Steinbeck as he grew up and lived in Monterey County. You’re unlikely to pass many cars on this drive which adds to its allure.

Where are your favorite road trips, in California or elsewhere? I’d love to know! 

Girl Behind the Garden

After my dad passed away without warning, I repeatedly thought about our unfinished business with each other. Those thoughts evolved into wondering what memories about myself and my life went with him the day he died. What had he seen or known about me that he hadn’t gotten around to telling me or that I hadn’t thought to ask? Afterall, how do you know what to ask when you don’t know what you don’t know about yourself? I suppose I expected that over the course of my life I would discover and learn everything I needed to know in due time, but sometimes life makes you grow even under a cloudy sky. Once my grief eventually subsided my thoughts took a different course. Who is expecting to learn something from me? What is it and would they be listening when I was ready to teach them?

I have one sibling, my sister, who is eight years my junior. Our age difference gives our relationship a special complexity in which I am a friend, her family, a mentor. Naturally, I am in the position to be an example and a role model and I take that position with great pride. In this day and age where we spend so much time being “social” it can be difficult to really connect when we already think we’re totally connected. Recently, my sister went with me on a trip to Palm Springs where we visited Moorten’s Botanical Garden and Cactarium. We spent the morning walking around the grounds in the sweltering August heat, she was a great sport. As we were walking, to my immense delight, she pointed out and named plants or directed my attention to something I missed that she knew I would want to see. It was amazing to see that in her own way she was interested in something I love so much. I managed to take this child, raised in the digital age, and have her love something in a way that only one with an old soul could. My work here is done!

That day at Moorten’s, as I reflect back on it now, is a reminder that knowledge is an evolution in which your original sources fade into you becoming the source and those you teach become your teachers too. The unfinished business I once thought I had with my dad has become my current business with my sister. I’ve found that it’s not about talking about yourself or even sharing family memories it’s about getting out and doing. It takes effort to pass on your passion but when you do it’s wonderful to see what someone else can make of something you love. I can’t exactly put my finger on a single passion that my dad directly passed to me but I know I feel his spirit when I work with my hands. That’s why I love to share the things I create with everyone who reads this blog. A full circle connection that brings me joy. But you just can’t underestimate unplugging from the computer or the phone and teaching those around you, in person. It was the original way to be social, before the media. And that day that I got out with my sister confirmed the direction of my path that she knows the garden and the girl behind it too. moortens2moortens3

Once. Again. Forever.

Joshua Tree

New Year’s Day 2015

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Valentine’s Day 2015

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May 1, 2015

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The last photo (above) was snapped with my iPhone in the very last moment of available light.

Joshua Tree has a way with me. The trees are truly alive. There can be no other human in sight yet you feel hundreds of distinctive lives around you. My hopes for each trip I’ve made to Joshua Tree have been to shoot an amazing sunset. While each trip has posed unique and individual weather and scenery offerings, May 1st was a trip to remember. I felt so privileged to be there in that moment, completely alone (my husband had gone for a sunset jog). I found myself shaking my head in awe, repeating thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you to myself for being in the moment, thank you to my husband for always being willing to go the extra mile with me for an adventure, thank you to my dad for being up there somewhere in that sunset, and thank you God for a greatness and glory that is limitless. I always say, the sunset is God’s way of letting us know that it’s good down here but it’s great up there.

I went once. I traveled again. And with this memory I will stay forever.

Where have you seen your most amazing sunset? I’d love to know!