How to Enjoy a Family Trip to Los Angeles (On a Budget!)

*I’m not affiliated with any of the attractions listed- I just enjoy them 🙂

Los Angeles is notoriously expensive.

Having children is notoriously expensive.

Mix the two and you may find yourself on a vacation that drains all the piggy banks.

Being a resident of the Los Angeles area, and having a child that likes to occasionally leave our house, I’ve been forced to find fun adventures that don’t make me choose between recreation, and my monthly contribution to my son’s college savings account.

These are my top ten budget-friendly “fun stops” in Los Angeles (not necessarily in order of awesomeness- they’re just all so good.)

1. Huntington Gardens

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Photo Credit: GENE

Growing up in Pasadena, this was a go-to when friends or family came to visit. This nature extravaganza has twelve gardens and 15,000 plant varieties. Engage the kiddos by creating your own “I Spy Scavenger Hunt” with the massive variety of plant life. Oh, and they have a Free Day the first Thursday of every month! To take advantage, you must reserve your tickets in advance. Click here for more information.

2. Camping At a State Park

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Affordable lodging (that’s pleasant) is hard to come by in Los Angeles. The state parks located on the Pacific Coast Highway offer beautiful camping options and are across the street from fabulous beaches. My favorite is Leo Carrillo- it’s a go-to surf spot for locals and offers fun tide pool exploration during low tide. A short drive from Santa Monica this camp spot offers the charm of nature while being convenient to the city.

3. Beaches

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I’ve never been to a beach I didn’t enjoy in Los Angeles. And if the surf is good you’ll be treated to views of world-class surfers performing incomprehensible moves on the waves. Pack plenty of food, water, shade, sunscreen and toys so you can play all day.

4. Grammy Museum

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth The

This interactive museum allows guests to make their own tunes, listen to music from multiple generations and view famous items like Michael Jackson’s Thriller varsity jacket. The intention of the museum is to educate guests about the history and cultural significance of American music, while encouraging younger generations to explore new forms of music, that are influenced by the past.

5. Grauman’s Chinese Theater

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Photo Credit: Jose Pestana

Ultimate old-school Hollywood baby. This is where you’ll find the stars (gold stars in the ground- not Leonardo DiCaprio with a Free Hugs sign) and famous handprints in cement. This area of Hollywood has had a major facelift and now offers a glimpse into classic Hollywood- versus seedy Hollywood.

6. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

Did you know there’s natural asphalt seeping up through the ground in the middle of LA? Yup. When my brother was a toddler he made my mom take him to these tar pits every week. Every. Week. And I don’t blame him- it’s an incredible sight, especially for those enamored by the ice age. The pits have (fake) animals trying to escape the grip of the pits and the attached museum showcases various ice age fossils extracted from this area.

7. Griffith Observatory

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Photo Credit: Alex Stone

This is where you go if you want to explore the cosmos- or get some amazing photos of Los Angeles, and the Hollywood sign. You’re able to look through state-of-the-art telescopes, roam through planetary exhibits and (for those over the age of five) view mind-blowing live shows in the planetarium.

8. Getty Museum

This art museum is perched above Los Angeles and offers views-galore. The structure itself is a piece of art, and the gardens and grassy lawn are a fun place for the kids to explore while the adults (with the exception of the supervising adult!) explore the current exhibits.

9. Santa Monica Beach Bike Rentals

 

Rent a few bikes (and a kid’s bicycle trailer seat for the little ones) and ride a portion of the 22 mile Marvin Braude bike trail running through the beaches of Santa Monica. You’ll get a tour of Venice Beach and can stop off at the pier for a few carnival rides.

10. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

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Photo Credit: Smart Destinations

While you’re in Santa Monica, why not visit some of its natives? This aquarium, whose motto is “When we heal the Earth, we heal ourselves” is home to over 100 species of marine life and offers special events every day of the week- with the exception of Monday, that’s when the animals take their day off.

Extra Tip: Many of these stops allow you to bring in your own food and drink, which I highly recommend. Spending $10 on a bottle of water and mini-bag of chips is not fun. 

*To work on your budgeting skills (I’m talking to myself here) check out Personal Capital who provide free financial software to help clients manage assets and investments. Continue reading

Pregnancy Bagua Map

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Toying around with a “pregnancy version” of a feng shui bagua map for the Feng Shui Mommy book 🙂 A work in progress, but having fun mixing the harmony of this ancient Chinese art into the magic of pregnancy and childbirth.

Oh, are you wondering what the heck a bagua map is? The bagua map (BAH-gwa) is a tool used in feng shui to learn which parts of a space correlate with particular areas of life.

My version helps you learn what areas of your life to nurture during different stages of your journey into motherhood. 

You begin your journey in the watery North (1st trimester), explore the woods of the East (2nd trimester), absorb the warmth of the South (3rd trimester), then slide into the cool landscape of the West (4th trimester.)

At the center of it all is the grounding presence of the Earth, which holds the power to harmonize the light and dark moments of your journey (yin and yang.)

9 Ways to Bond With Your Unborn Baby

IMG_0978Are you nervous at the prospect of birthing a stranger? Sure, you love the little nugget floating in your uterus, but do you feel like you know them?

When I was pregnant, I had serious doubts about my ability to “do parenting well.” I felt wholly unprepared and feared the big P-D: postpartum depression.

Because I have control freak tendencies, I became consumed with putting in bonding work before my son was born — I had a deep need to get to know him before he was put in my arms.

Many of the following prenatal bonding activities are practiced in the HypnoBirthing (Mongan Method) childbirth preparation classes I teach, and some are pulled from my personal tinkering.

Read more on Babble!

I Was Bullied at 13, and I’m Just Now Dealing With the Damage It Did

My heart crumbled when I watched the older boy shove him down, grab his toy, and run away with the other children. My son’s lip puffed out, then was immediately sucked in and bit down on as he balled up his tiny body and fought back tears. I rushed over to him as I pushed down my own ball of tears lodging itself in my throat.

I wrapped my arms around my son and rocked him, feeling so helpless and triggered by my own memories of rejection.

Then, the little boy who had pushed him down returned, handed my son his toy and asked him if he wanted to kick a ball. My tiny man hopped up smiling and ran after the boy howling the toddler cry-of-joy.

I stayed on the grass, continuing to rock myself.

Read more on Babble

How to Release Emotional Attachments to Stuff- Online Course

Hey friends!

I have a new online course launching on Daily OM April 5th, but you can jump on it now if you’re into it 🙂

Here’s a peek into what it’s all about. 

This is an 8 week on-line course available from Bailey Gaddis. We will email you when your new lesson is available and you will be able to login and read each lesson on-line or print as they become available and click to listen to the guided audio meditations. Your first lesson will be available immediately after you enroll. 

Would you like your home to be organized, serene and inviting? Do you yearn for a simple and lasting method of organization? How would you feel if your inner environment mirrored your peaceful outer environment?

Many of us can muster the willpower to spend a weekend organizing our home, but what often happens is we quickly slip back into old habits, and the evidence of our hard work dissipates. When we learn how to make the process of creating and maintaining an organized home and life second nature, the weight of the struggle is lifted, and lasting change is established.

Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, the state of your external environment has a profound effect on your internal environment, and vice versa. To create a positive exchange of energy between your inner and outer worlds we must work with them in unison to achieve harmony. Consciously bridging these two worlds will ease the practice of releasing unneeded items, dissolving negative shopping and organizing habits, and discovering the specific methods of organization that work best for your unique needs.

This course will take you the through the gentle process of tuning into this connection and harnessing its power to create a home you love spending time in, because it nourishes you- mind, body and spirit.

Over an eight-week period this course will take you through the following journey, utilizing text and 5 minute guided meditations:

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

* How to examine your emotional relationship to physical belongings.

* Explore what really makes you happy- and how to get more of it.

* Tap into the energy of your home, and learn how to harmonize it with the energy within you.

* How to work through the four stages of organizing- Sort, Purge, Organize, and Maintain

* Learn to integrate your new self with your new home, through blessings.

* How to continuously find center within your self and home, while moving through the eternal flux of life.

* Figure out how to motivate your housemates to join in the transformations!

You can dive into it for as little as $10! Woot woot!

Food Lover’s Guide to Austin, Texas

Photo: Jeremy KeithPhoto Credit: Jeremy Keith

If Austin, Texas were a perfume it would smell like barbeque, with an undertone of breakfast tacos and craft beer.

I was going to write a “Best Places to Eat In Austin” article, but that would be impossible, seeing as there are hundreds of “best” places to eat in my wacky hometown.

This is a tiny sprinkle of Austin eateries that will leave you fat, happy and searching for more.

Read more on Flight Network!

How a Mismatched Job Experience Helped Me Find My Courage

I was paid good money to talk to myself on national television about a topic I knew nothing about for four hours, a few times a week (and not have a panic attack).

I was 21 years old living in Austin, Texas working as a student/actress. Acting opportunities were slim (and pretty much all unpaid), so when a friend who was a cameraman for The Jewelry Channel asked me if he could pass my headshot on to his boss-man, I said heck yes — not expecting anything to come of it. I had no hosting experience and only owned costume jewelry.

Three weeks later I received a call from a chipper middle-aged man asking me to come in for an interview.

“Um… OK?”

Because I was 21, I obviously stayed up until 2 a.m. the night before the interview drinking with my boyfriend. I woke up late, showered off the booze, guzzled coffee, and showed for the interview 20 minutes late. Winning?

Read more on Huff Post!