Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pura Vida! Costa Rica Road Trip

Our first trip to Costa Rica was awesome! We rented an SUV that took us around for 11 days from city to city. With the beautiful company of my husband Adrian, brother in law Rene, and only the essentials on our back(packs), we set out for our journey down to Costa Rica. Back in June, we had found the flight tickets for a ridiculously cheap price. The company Volaris I normally fly with to Mexico had expanded to other countries in Central America and had 50% off flights, so we jumped on it. Total cost for Adrian and I roundtrip from TIJUANA to SJO, COSTA RICA, $400! My brother in law Rene decided to join us last minute and paid around $530 roundtrip for the same flight.  Being that this was more of a family trip and less of a romantic trip, we decided to be as frugal as possible and stay at hostels, AirBnBs, and cook our own meals. We explored green jungles, swam inside a volcano, enjoyed cool waterfalls, and soaked up as much coconut water down in the Caribbean. The places we visited on this trip were Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bribri, and best of all Manzanillo. For most of our trip we stayed in "El Caribe" (Caribbean) side located on the Province of Limon. It was so fun and relaxing to be surrounded by such incredible wildlife and the endlessly blue coast. We had a wonderful time and met some amazing people all around Costa Rica.

Courtesy of Rome2Rio.com

La Fortuna had great offerings from natural treks to hot springs. This place was a good introduction to our trip and although we didn't stay long, we enjoyed ourselves. We got lucky to get great views of Arenal Volcano all throughout the town. We knew we were coming to CR during its rainy season, but we got lucky that most rain that came only lasted about 30min to an hour. The temperatures were still very warm and humid despite of the rain. We enjoyed a long 5hr hike to Cerro Chato Lagoon and the free Natural Hot Springs.

Arenal Hostel Resort was a very cozy place to stay.
Princesa de la Luna Airbnb was a remarkable location.

We just couldn't get enough of the hammocks, we even brought our own to hang around!

Cerro Chato, once a volcano now a lagoon that sits right next to Arenal, and on a good day you can get a full view of it!

Adrian and I enjoying the hot springs near Arenal.

Located slightly South of Limon sits the lovely Cahuita National Forest filled with secluded beaches and jungle dreams. We spotted so much wildlife here from Blue Morph butterflies to Congo Monkeys. It was a great walk along the coast and a great way to spend an entire day. We stayed for a night at a local hostel and then continued South to the next town.


This town is best known for its mountainous people of the Bribri and Kekoldi tribes that still inhabit the area. We found out about this place via Google and decided to do a small hike up to the "Volio" waterfall. We got lucky to run into the Red Frog Team on our way up and spoke to biologists David and Toto which offered cold drinks at a house right before the entrance to the mountain. We returned a day later since they had mentioned they did night tours in the jungle. We were very fortunate to come across many amphibians, especially the incredible Glass Frog. Getting to know these guys and see the great knowledge they had about reptiles and wildlife was such a great experience. 

Volio Waterfall inside Bribri Mountains

Red Frog Team were awesome for night tours and room stays.


This rustic beach town is most populated by locals of Jamaican decent, tourists, and surfers alike. Its no wonder why reggae tunes dominate the streets filled with restaurants and bars. Puerto Viejo is a town you want to visit if you are looking to catch some waves and like to party. It has a laid back vibe and a good place to relax as well. We arrived on the first day of the Chocolate Festival, which was a sweet surprise. The small fest was held at a local restaurant and showcased talented performances from musicians and silk aerialists and a chance to sample chocolate from the local vendors. Rene and and I even jumped on stage to join for a dance party. We also got to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center and learned about the strong measures the foundation takes to rescue wildlife and introduce them back into their natural habitats.
Refreshing cocktail from Madre Tierra!




This was truly a dream and has become the most memorable part of Costa Rica for me. Manzanillo is filled with empty beaches and a range of tropical wildlife and plants. There we met two incredible individuals who we now call friends, Marta and Mikey. Marta is a local and has been hosting travelers from around the world with the help of Airbnb. She is also the landlord to the Cool & Calm Cafe located downstairs of her cabin room. She used to teach arts for many years, but now devotes her time to creating her own art using different methods such as batik and bead work. Mikey is a California native but has been traveling around Mexico and Central America for over 10 years. He is currently running different projects in the area and has a gives weather advice called 'Real Time Weather Costa Rica' on Facebook. On a clear day we went snorkeling and got to see the beautiful coral reefs filled with an assortment of colorful species. Adrian spotted a nurse shark which was at a close distance from where we were snorkeling. I got stung by a small jellyfish but it didn't disrupt our trip what so ever. We were so fortunate to have stayed at this amazing location and highly recommend it to anyone.
Mirador Point in "El Caribe"

True Nomad  and excellent guide "Mikey" in the middle 

Punta Mona in "El Caribe"
Loco for Cocos!

Marta is the sweetest woman ever and an amazing Airbnb Hostess!
This trip to Costa Rica was very special since we were celebrating our 11th year anniversary, but what made it even more special was the company of our loving younger brother Rene. It was his first time in a foreign country other than Mexico and Adrian and I were very excited he could join us on our adventure. We have many more trips to plan and hope that next time more of our family and friends can join! Costa Rica offers such a diversity of wildlife and natural attractions that it's no wonder it is ranked so high in ecotourism. The people we came across were very kind and compassionate towards nature and truly care for the land. Visiting Costa Rica was a wonderful experience that inspired us greatly to strive strong for our goals and keep learning about ourselves in the process. Most importantly it gave us the opportunity to share the greatness God has given us all and to love our planet even more. We built great friendships and beautiful memories that excites us for our next visit to Costa Rica. PURA VIDA!

Friday, September 4, 2015


As the new month settles in my mind, all I can think about is new ways to accomplish my goals. Well how about I stop doing the talkin' and start doin' the walkin', here they are:

1. Stay consistent with blogging! I want to share with all of you my crazy/cool/weird ideas!

2. Work out 30 minutes a day, meditate, and eat clean.

3. Make plans of action for my business goals.

4. Get 50% fluent in Italiano and start having conversations. (I'm currently at 35%!)

5. Spend more time with family, friends, and of course Mr. Sandoval!

After some extensive reading from blog post to blog post, attending seminars and webinars, there are common key points made that have helped other experts accomplish their goals. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while setting out to accomplish your own goals:

1. Stop listening to your fear and listen to your INTENTIONS!

2. Get organized, make a plan, and initiate your goals!

3. Commit your time, even 30 minutes a day makes a major impact towards any goal.

4. Be vocal about your goals!  Share them with your family, friends, or social media. It will remind you of the importance to achieve those goals.

5. Change your routine or habits, even if it is small it will help steer you towards your success.

6. Give it 1000% and HUSTLE towards those finish lines! The rewards will be incredible!

7. Take the advice others have given, and follow these MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Confessions of a Street Curator!

Today I confess to my lovely readers that I am a street curator (a.k.a junk collector, trash scavenger, hoarder, etc). For the past 7 years now since living in LA, I have found and collected many awesome pieces from the streets. Now before you judge me, let me start off by saying that there is so much great junk out there, you know what they say “one man’s trash, is another WOman’s treasure.” I must have picked up the habit from my dear dad growing up.  He would drag me along to garage sales and thrift store auctions to score a pot of gold. I used to hate tagging along, but as a young adult, I developed an appreciation for the old, vintage, and antique. THANKS DAD! See in my eyes, every thrown out piece of furniture or decor, deserves a second chance. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2008, the idea of finding treasures in the street was mind blowing, like striking gold. Recap of 2008, I was fresh to this crazy urban jungle of a city and starting my first year in college, so it would be no surprise that I had no mula to splurge, let alone furnish my first studio apartment. The very first street treasure I found was an old wooden water dispenser stand. It served as a side table and later in life as a plant stand. I still have this wonderful little stand. Finding unwanted gems not only saves money, but it also helps clean these junky streets of LA. Receiving rewards while contributing to the community, its a WIN, WIN! There was a time that this lovely little habit became to excessive and my old roomies hated it, but in occasion didn’t mind since it filled our bare apartment. Over my many junk collecting years, I have grown wise and only collect what truly speaks to me. If its worth salvaging, I will pull over, stick it in the car, somehow, and bring it home. I recommend anyone try this, come on it’s absolutely free, no gimmicks!  Just make sure to take precaution of any creepy crawlers, mold, etc. and evaluate if the item is junk or treasure in your eyes. Even design stars like Sarah Richardson and Nicole Curtis have rescued junk from the streets. All the cool kids have done it, now its your turn. What many may not realize is that most of the "junk" thrown out is pretty valuable, some even designer vintage and antique pieces. Though many have grown smarts and decide to sell their goods on sites such as those found in this BuzzFeed article, you can still find unique goods down the street.  Many of the items I have found have served me well and I take pride in saying "I am a street curator!" 


BRASS FRAME & CANVAS (I repainted over the old canvas)
IKEA BOOKSHELF (turned on its side to use as a bench)

Many of the wonderful items you see above will be restored, repurposed, or kept as is, so tune in for great DIY posts coming soon!!!