Time flies! In just a few weeks, the first annual Beverly Hills 5K Run/Walk & Fitness Blast will take place. It starts and finishes in front of Beverly Hills City Hall which is where the Monday morning Walk with the Mayor gathers every week with BOLD determination, motivation and amazing orange energy with the goal of transforming Beverly Hills into America’s healthiest city #bhhealthycity. A more perfect day could not have been picked as this event takes place both on the birthday of the City of Beverly Hills as well as on the Anniversary of BHEF - Beverly Hills Education Foundation which has been chosen as this year's beneficiary. BHEF is a non-profit organization that raises money to support all five of the Beverly Hills public schools.
Given that I'm a digital nomad and always on the move, means that I am rarely in one location for an extended period of time. I roam around spreading love, happiness and kindness, photographing, learning from other people's stories, and exploring the beauty of new places around me. I leave pieces of my heart in many places (don't worry, I have a big heart and I choose to leave them!). The community of Beverly Hills is one of those places. The leadership, inspiration and vision of Mayor Lili Bosse is quite exceptional and the support of the Special Ed division of the public school system while my son was in school is something I will always remember. I am grateful to have had the opportunity over the years to play my part as a member of the community through friendship and volunteering my photography.
While I was in town working as part of Dion's All Season's Media Fitness Team, together with Bob Seagren’s Run Racing team we worked on making Dion's vision a reality. It was exciting being a part of the early stages of design, planning and BH City Council approval and I look forward to seeing what I have no doubt will be an amazing event!
I never know where I will be from week to week, so no guarantees, but I hope to see you all out at the starting line Sunday January 28 at 7am or at the Fitness Blast after the 5K. Dion has amazing health and fitness experts coming to teach and inspire. Stay healthy! #bhhealthycity
Join in as the course takes you through the beautiful bold city of Beverly Hills! How incredible to run if you choose... or walk or stroll through the streets and past these stores - only in Beverly Hills!
Thank you Lili for bringing together so many people, for motivating and inspiring and sharing your vision of health, happiness, kindness and compassion. You have a loyal following of BOLD inspired individuals. I hope you know how much you have impacted the lives of so many. You make a difference, thank you! xo
To sign up, click this link Beverly Hills 5K Run/Walk & Fitness Blast
To follow the facebook group, Click here
Have you ever stopped to think what it might be like to see yourself in a photo for the 1st time?
5 years ago, I traveled to Cambodia and after visiting a few small villages, I learned the kids and their families had never seen photos of themselves and I decided the next time I visited South East Asia, I would change that. Fujifilm Instax made it happen! This trip, I started out in rural villages in Laos before heading back to Cambodia. You didn't have to be there to feel the emotions in these images.
These faces!!!! The emotions. Happiness. Excitement. Wonder. It truly is priceless to see the reactions of the kids receiving photos of themselves for the first time. What an honor and a privilege. I know I left a piece of my heart in each village we visited and once again my life was changed by a simple act - spending time with happy children who appreciate what they have, are grateful for what they are given and show compassion and kindness to each other! If we could all learn from these kids the world would be a better place. This is my ideal job - doing what I love and loving what I do. I will soon be heading out in my van to travel America, so, being completely honest, if there are any companies or individuals who are looking to hire someone to join them to spread happiness to others, please reach out to me :)
We were out in rural areas far from a city. Part jungle part mountains, all beautiful and I was taking photos on my iPhone, using the Instax Share App, connecting wirelessly to the Instax Share SP-2 mini printer and instantly printing out a photo for each child! We couldn't shoot and print fast enough as the kids kept running off to bring their siblings and friends ensuring everyone in the village received a photo. Technology is amazing, and something we take for granted. Thank you Fujifilm Instax North America for sending me all the film and mini printer to make that happen and bring such joy to these kids! It's my new "don't leave home without it" piece of equipment.
What does it mean to give? According to the dictionary ... 1.freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone)⠀
What about receive? ... 1.be given, presented with, or paid (something).
So essentially, when you give...you receive! This could not have been more evident whilst photographing these kids. I honestly don't know who was really on the receiving end!
"Can you tell us where tourists don't go?" I received a curious look from the hotel owner at Villa Rattanakon in Luang Prabang but there wasn't time for her to ask me "why" as I immediately followed up with our intentions and how we preferred to learn about a country - authentically, through the culture, people and customs. Something important to us was to take and print out photos immediately to give to the kids as I had learned on a previous visit that in rural villages most children have never seen a photo of themselves or to take it one step further, don't know what they look like as there are no mirrors. Think about that... Of course getting there was a journey in itself!
So many lessons to learn along the way. Life lessons - Time moves at its own pace and people are more accepting. It's a very good reminder to just be present and go with it, after all, whats the rush?
And then there is the experience of wandering very carefully (those leaves are sharp!) through a pineapple farm and watching your son's reaction to learning how pineapples grow. His mind was blown! This led to agricultural lessons of all types. Another story entirely as to how rice grows - like most people, he never stopped to think about that!
Along the way we stopped to chat with this mother and her children who explained they had gone into the jungle to get food. She was very happy to explain how they collected the bananas and timidly asked for her own Instax image after we gave each of the kids their own. I actually can't describe the feeling of knowing I was giving this woman her first family portrait. The happiness could be felt long after we drove off.
My gratitude to the wonderful staff at Villa Rattanakon for understanding what we needed and finding the perfect guide to help us on our journey, and of course a huge thank you to Cy for helping us accomplish beyond what we set out to do.
Luang Prabang was a bit of a shock to my senses. We had just spent a week in Nan Province where Steven and I were the only western tourists, and other than our friend Dream, about the only people who spoke English. Although tourists from other areas of Thailand visited, the city was geared towards locals. What we found in Luang Prabang was polar opposite. The city was set up specifically for tourists, and sadly, a little like a set at Universal. It's not good or bad, just different. It was not however what either of us were looking to learn about the culture of Laos. Knowing what you want to experience on a trip and learning your travel style are so necessary and probably the 2 most important things I was hoping for Steven to figure out on our travels. Scroll down or "stroll through" my Image Adventure of a "Life in Luang Prabang" before I take you exploring the rural villages of Laos and possibly the highlight of the trip!
I was in heaven when I heard about the Unicorn Cafe in Bangkok. I made sure to allow plenty of time to navigate my way around Bangkok on the BTS to find this randomly located cafe. It's down a street that leads you to believe you're in the wrong place but keep going and you'll definitely see it! Now I'm not usually one who has expectations as it's the quickest way to disappointment, however, the thought of rainbows and unicorns...I mean...happiness! I have to be honest, the concept is amazing for us Unicorn lovers - food, merchandise, chairs and walls were pastel rainbows and unicorns! What would have been wonderful to see however, was service and energy that matched my enthusiasm for being there. I felt indifference as if nothing was needed because tourists would come based on the theme alone... oh and instagrammable images! Don't get me wrong - it's worth going to see and if you are going to order anything, make it the rainbow crepe cake!
Unicorn Cafe is located at Soi Sathorn 8 BTS Chong Nonsi 086 3979262.
As a piece of constructive feedback, it would be nice to see new stuffed animals / plush as the ones there looked well worn and no longer snuggly, and a smile with some positive interaction would go a long way from the staff working there.
Our adventure in Nan would not have been complete without a stop, or rather a drive through the National Park. We actually had to go that beautiful windy way in order to reach the Salt Mines! During the dry season, you can walk through this gorge and although the water was flowing furiously, that didn't stop us from hiking down (carefully) and getting as close to the bottom as possible.
The park is actually named after this rare flowering tree which is only found in this area. We were fortunate to see the beginnings of the bloom as the season typically starts in February.
There is no shortage of beautiful Temples in Nan. I know I can't do the Temples justice as I would need to dedicate weeks to visiting and photographing all of them, however, a few of the Temples that I visited include Wat Phumin, Wat Phra That Khao Noi, Wat Ming Muang and Wat Si Phan Ton.
This is the most famous Wat (Temple) in Nan due to the very distinct murals painted on the walls by Thai Lue artists depicting everyday life. You will notice most of the merchandise you see around the Province is based on one particular painting - of a man whispering into a woman's ear.
A historical hilltop temple with stunning views and definately worth going there for sunrise...and sunset if you love them as much as I do! Try walking up all the steps but don't worry if you're not up for it, you can drive to the top and park :)
Or as I call it the "Very Gold Temple". Incredible sculpted and carved details adorn this temple.
Clearly this would be the opposite of the above - the White / Silver Temple, yet again with incredible detail in the exterior sculptures. In addition, beautiful murals cover the walls in this Temple.
Clear your mind of what you might expect on hearing the term "Salt Mines"... and you will be intriqued and fascinated at Bo Kluea Salt Mines. This picturesque village is near the Laos border, far up a winding mountain, through a beautiful national park, and down the other side into the valley. Some say it's not worth the drive but perhaps they are about the destination and not the journey :) Enjoy the "Image Adventure"!
Every kind of salt product was available and all I could think of was how Spas in America would love to have this for their salt scrubs! Too bad I couldn't bring any back :)
Alms (/ɑːmz/, /ɑːlmz/) or almsgiving involves giving to others as an act of virtue, either materially or in the sense of providing capabilities (e.g. education) free. It exists in a number of religions and regions - Wikipedia. In Buddhism, this morning ritual is also referred to as making merit. Beginning at dawn, the Monks walk around the monastery led by the elders first and receive rice, food, fruit, and flowers by members of the community who wait patiently on the side of the street.
It is important these offerings are giving with good intentions, with gratitude; the desire to help the Monks sustain themselves in order to continue the teachings of the Buddha; and an opportunity to practice giving and letting go.
Morning Market never ceases to amaze me in every country in South East Asia. From fresh produce, to prepared foods to clothes and household goods, everything is available. We soon learned it is often more cost effective to eat at the market than purchase ingrediants and cook at home. Many people either do not have the ability to prepare and store food as in a kitchen or fridge, so the market is practical on many levels. I couldn't help but compare it to the once a week Farmer's Market in Los Angeles selling expensive organic foods which I am still happy to buy from in order to support small farms and receive great produce! As far as dairy free and gluten free, I'm beyond happy here as so many products are rice flour and coconut milk!
Most tourists who vacation in Thailand hit the major spots - Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the Islands. Suddenly the 10 days of vacation are over and the metered taxi is heading to the airport. However, if you choose to explore outside of those areas, know there are so many equally beautiful and less crowded areas to explore.
I am very fortunate to have a friend who lives in Nan Province show us around his hometown. (Thank you Dream!) The next few posts will continue my Image Adventures - I'm not big on words but rather prefer to show you through my photos :) First up is Ban Tai Lue Café in Pua, which for many is difficult to find but worth looking for as you'll see below.
The construction of the bamboo and wooden suspended bridges was fascinating and allowed for a completely different perspective. As beautiful as it was, we went after the rice had already been harvested so the rice fields were not the vibrant green one sees in images everywhere... I guess I'll have to go back!
The fabric hanging over the wooden railings in woven locally and sold in an attached store along with garments. After a photo worthy walk along the bridges, relax and attempt to order a coffee. Break out Google Translate, you'll need it in Nan.