The Cultured Seed

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I love LA! August 20, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 12:11 am
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There are many cities that I love to visit depending on my mood, but when I think of permanently extending my stay I realize, I couldn’t trade them for LA! There is nothing like flying back in to LAX, seeing the twinkling lights stretch for miles and miles, it looks like the city is made up of fireflies of fairies! Then you step on to the jet bridge and the smell of fuel and smog fills your nose and you think “ahhh, I am home.” Ok, that is enough of my ode to LA, let’s get real. Some people love LA and some people hate it, we are all entitled to pick-our-choose. Yet, when you stop and think about it there are very few places where you will find the diversity that LA offers, culturally, artistically and geographically.

First off, the weather, need I say more? Second, from LA you have easy access to the rest of California, which offers an array of free fun and natural beauty in its mountains, deserts and beaches. Third, this is tinsel town! There are always shows, concerts and exclusive events to attend whether you are on the A-list, B-list or no list at all. Even if you just concentrate on the activity in your local neighborhood, when you really look, there are a thousand and one things to do in any given week.

So, why does it sometimes feel like we are so limited in our options here? Do you ever find yourself twiddling your thumbs when downtime miraculously appears? Or just stuck routinely programmed into your days without room to experience all of the things that are available to us in this great city? I have often felt that way myself. Some days it feels as if my only options are to watch a movie or cook dinner. I tend to go to the same places and see the same people – sometimes with barely enough time to even do that! But why? And how? When I know there is much more fun to be had.

Then I think back to my times in other great cities where people move and interact in different ways. For instance, my good friends in London have an amazing post-work culture. On a weekly basis, it is a common occurrence to meet your mates at the pub for a drink after the day is done. The same can be said for New York, where cocktails and great food abound. “Mi amici” in Italy totally prioritize family and schedule in a weekly visit at Mama’s house. Let’s not even talk about Madrid, that is a city that has it all figured out when it comes to sleep! Just the Spanish concept of siesta alone is genius – why don’t we have those? They party all night, work half the day, sleep and then get up and do it all again (kids or no kids, everyone joins in mind you!) My work life would be so much better if I had a daily siesta, wouldn’t yours?

Blame it on the traffic and dramatic distances we have to drive to do anything in this town, blame it on the city culture, or lack of time. Bottom line is I’m not buying it. If they can do it, so can we and we have got options here people. As I adjust to family life and scheduling for me plus 2 (soon to be 3!) I realize that you prioritize what is important to you and room can be made for those things that really tickle your fancy. Routine is cool and necessary, especially when coordinating the schedule of a family, but I am ready to spice up my weeks a little bit. I do a whole lot – don’t get me wrong – but is it really what I would prefer to be doing? Am I making the best of what this city has to offer? Are you?

Take our Poll “LA – Love it or Hate it?” and leave a comment to tell us why.


A Camping We Will Go! A Camping We Will Go! July 20, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 5:54 pm
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The view from the middle of Twin Lakes

La Vie Simple

I love the city, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wonder what my day-to-day existence would look like if I lived a more “simple” life, like on a farm or up in the mountains somewhere. What would it really feel like to live off the “fat of the land” and have to entertain myself without the aid of the apps on my i-gadgets, social events, or even just the www? I think back to the time of my maternal great-great-grandmothers and their lives on the prairies of the mid-west.

Imma get me one of these here trout!

I wonder… would I sew quilts, or read books, or be content to cook and clean and care for the babies all day? I shudder. Uhhh, NO! But sometimes it is nice to unplug, connect with nature and just be simple for a change. So over the July 4th holiday, in remembrance of my pioneer heritage and in trying to evoke “la vie simple” I decided that we should go camping! Sleeping outside, fishing for dinner, frying it up in an open-air kitchen, and plenty of dirt and trees – perfect! This is the closest we are going to get.

Fearless adventurers on a hike

With two days notice, I rallied a troupe of 8 and we revived a long forgotten family tradition. We packed up the camping gear and headed for Twin Lakes. We used to go all the time in the summer as kids. My Mom was truly a warrior as a single mother. It didn’t matter how broke we were, she made sure we had some sort of vacation every year; be it driving up Hwy 1 to hang out in Big Sur for a few days, shipping us off to Costa Rica, road trips to Kansas in our Chevy Suburban or a simple camping trip. In addition to throwing us three kids in the back of the car she usually scooped up a cousin or two to join in the fun. Being a mother myself now I bow down to her patience and resilience. They don’t cut all Mama’s from that kind of cloth – 3+ kids in the back of a car for more than 5 hours?? Woo! Enough said!

Arya taking on Yosemite

None of us had been up to Twin Lakes in at least a decade but I had this urge to go camping. So I figured, before I turn into a serious pumpkin and the thought of sleeping on the ground becomes ridiculous in all of my pregnant glory, let’s just go. So we did. Hey! Who says traveling with kids has to involve weeks of planning? Not if you are taking the bare minimum! Plus, camping has got to be one of the most inexpensive family trips that you can take. Where else can you book a room for $20 a night? Once you have the gear you are set and you can go as much or little as you want, budgeting only for the site fee, food and gas. Seriously, it is a trip almost any family can afford to make.

Going really fast in a super slow boat!

There is also something about having to rely on the natural surroundings for entertainment that allows for greater connectivity with one another. There are no cell phones, email, movies or PS3s to distract you. There’s just fishing, swimming, hiking, resting and eating which can all be enjoyed just as much in  a group as solo. I think my nephew had the best time of all just collecting sticks, rocks and pinecones! What can I say… I may not be able to commit to leaving my i-phone for more than a week at a time -no offense great-grandma- but in honor of my foremothers that made their lives out on the range, camping will for sure be a tradition that I carry forth with my nuclear family for years to come. Yippee-ka-yay.

Loving the ice cold water

Don't bother me... I'm getting my tan on

Move 'em out folks


The Cultured Seed Picnic: Thanks for hanging out! April 6, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 3:29 am
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My last few posts have been kind of serious, so we will keep it light for this week and just give thanks!

Aguiar Fam Easter 2010

Thank you to all of the families (and friends) who came out for our first Cultured Seed Family Picnic and photo shoot. The kiddies had a blast and we took some really cute pix. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon! There’s nothing better for family fun than catching some rays while enjoying good snacks and good company.

My girl Keisha even rolled through with an amazing buttery goodness cake. If you are not yet her fan on Facebook, check out Couture Cakes by Keisha. She makes some crazy shaped but delicious cakes, ours was a baby lamb (ahhh).

Yummy Cake

Easter Sunday was an action packed day with both sides of the fam. We even had a nice ride (earthquake!) which I almost missed because I was mid tear-down at brunch.  Had it not been for the chandeliers starting to sway nothing was going to come between me and my omelet supreme. Good thing Eric had his priorities in tact and remembered to grab the baby on the way out the door.

I hope all the rest of you Easter celebrators aren’t suffering from an overdose of deviled eggs or chocolate bunnies too. All I know is my detox starts now. In next week’s blog post we talk food. Good food. My favorite subject (Arya’s too).


Baby to Go Please March 23, 2010

Filed under: Travel — theculturedseed @ 5:32 am
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Travel is by far one of my most favorite things to do in the whole wide world. Whether it’s a road trip or hopping a plane to

Arya on a speedboat to St. John

somewhere exotic, nothing compares to the feeling of freedom I get when I just pack up and take off. I don’t have to tell you all that, you know I used to be the queen of “pack my bags 20 minutes before departure and float through business class check-in only to plop into my airplane seat and fall asleep within 3.5 seconds”. Rachel (one of my BFF’s) still hates that I fall asleep before we leave the tarmac. Travel is just second nature to me. I guess I have my parents to thank for that since they started shipping me off solo starting in the 1st grade.

I have to admit, my pregnancy was pretty awesome for travel too. I had the pleasure of working freelance as a travel writer for a local publication. If they could issue passports for kids in utero then Arya would already be labeled a jet setter too. In 9 short months I did Cabo San Lucas, San Diego, Miami, Israel and Costa Rica. So knowing the kind of traveler that I have been, you can image the shock that I encountered on my last trip abroad at 7 months pregnant, when I realized that I would never, ever, ever travel this way again with a baby in tow. Please get that I was that girl that prided herself on being able to go anywhere for any length of time with one check in bag and a knapsack. Now there would be car seats that snap into strollers and diaper bags and three full suitcases and extra stashes of food and diapers and a million other things…. ahhhhh the horror! How in the world would I do this with all of the stuff you have to cart around plus carrying a baby.

Aja, Bella and Arya at the San Diego Zoo

Well, relax. I am a total over exaggerator. Our first trip was a simple one, we did San Diego by car. Eric and I timed things to coincide with Arya’s naps and made a day of it with our cousins at the San Diego Zoo. Arya was a little small to really get it, but she bobbed around happily in her little Bjorn carrier and I stopped as needed to nurse. It was no big deal. Our second trip was a whirlwind Voluntourism press trip to the US Virgin Islands. Arya absolutely adored having yogurt with a silver spoon at the Ritz on St. Thomas and traveling to St. John by speedboat. I did have to travel with my Granny Nanny to make it all happen (seriously, can Grandma have a better job than playing with her favorite baby in paradise?). We made it there and back in one piece and managed not to loose anything vital in the process.

Don't bother me, I'm getting my tan on

It is true that post baby things have changed in the way that I travel – but so have the once basic contents of my now super-mama purse, and that mess gets carted around daily! Unless I leave the babe with her papa for a quick escapade, I will likely never be able to leave the house without a carpetbag full of goodies, but traveling with your kid is so doable and totally manageable. I’m sorry, but I for sure am not ready to hand in my platinum flight pass just yet, so I guess my baby will just have

to get with the program and roll. Vámonos Arya!

Ahhh the life

I'm ready for that yogurt now Mr. Ritz!

The USVI Dream Team