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We have landed in San Diego, we are settled, we are happy.

Here is what's brewing:

I have stopped The Beautiful Hens photojournalism project. (I need to streamline my programming efforts)

I will be focusing more time on the True Tag App project.

Once I finish my latest programming certification I will step into a volunteer role as the Regional Director for coderGirls San Diego chapter. I will be leading programming workshops for young ladies ages K-12. 

I plan to attend more events to network with the following groups: The Gritty Movement, Ladies Aloud & HATCHED COLLECTIVE.

All in good time, and of course taking my time. 

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And so we did a country-swap and I will be working mainly from California until our next stint in Spain. I have so much to say about this next phase but I have yet to write it all out and organize my thoughts. 

I am still very jetlagged though.

In a nutshell, I am excited. Excited because I have a more clear direction in terms of streamlining career goals and I would be lying if I didn't admit that here there are truly more opportunities for me as a programmer. 

Hiding out on a hillside-villa in Spain is incredibly romantic and great if I want to stay part-time freelance. But that's not where I'm at mentally and emotionally. I've got a lot more to do and people to work with and I will be foolish not to follow that intuitive nudge.

All in all I aim to reclaim my time and refocus it elsewhere on the things that are a priority for me at this phase in my life. 

More to come <3

A Heartfelt Collaboration

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If words like SUSTAINABILITY, FASHION and WHO MADE MY CLOTHES, interest you, you will love my latest collaboration with Alison of Salud Shoppe.

I give you, the True Tag App. It's a project in process, an app and website I am developing to help bring awareness to sustainable manufacturing practices. Alison is truly the heart and the brains behind this whole initiative. I mainly am here to bring this project to life. If you would like to stay informed about the app progress, visit the True Tag App website and join the community.


Let's Up Our Photography Game, Shall We?

 *this post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure  here

*this post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here

I have a confession, I have never taken a photography class and seriously only know how to do like 2 things with my "big girl camera".

I learned on the fly when I was a leather bag designer because I needed photos for my online shop. I bought a super basic Nikon camera package on Amazon and just got started snapping photos. I also learned Photoshop on the fly but I'll write about that another time.

Somehow over the years I managed to find a style of photography and editing I liked enough to keep repeating it as part of my brand. But as I said, I only know like 2 things when it comes to taking non-cellphone pictures.

Needless to say, I've always felt like I could really use a true photography course to feel more confident with my skills. Just the basics, the foundations to start.

I considered some of the free courses taught around town through local community colleges but those class times never seem to fit with my schedule, and it's kind of a pain in the ass to get registered for community college again so there goes that idea.

So after much research I've decided to give THIS CLASS a try through CreativeLive. It seems incredibly well priced and the workshop intro trailer had me convinced that I could learn the essential workings of my camera by the end of the course. 

If you're interested in upping your photography game like I am, have a peek at the course and let me know if you sign up so we can be accountability buddies!

{Click this link to get a $15 off coupon on any class}


From California to Barcelona to California...again.

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Wake me up I'm dreaming.

Ok yes, seriously yes- this is the mountainous view from every window in the villa. Each morning it changes a bit depending on the fog, rain, etc but it is still equally stunning and grounds the hell out of me each day.

If you've been following me on Instagram you will know that we are soon to be making San Diego our full-time home again while Spain will be our part-time home. The new change is no surprise as is the nature of my husband's industry to be relocated often. All the better for me to be a digital nomad.

This was no accident, I have been working my ass off to create this kind of flexibility for myself in order to keep progression on my career path. 

As for the villa, we will be hosting it on Airbnb while we are away and then plan to be living in it part-time throughout the year.  A major consideration we made when purchasing the villa is whether it would be "Airbnb-able". The answer was a resounding, "Yes!".

So here we are on the brink of another relocation and another opportunity to restart again back in our previous life, rejoin our community there while still maintaining the friendships we've started here.

We are looking forward to this new phase and in the meantime, I've got to get started on photographing the villa for the Airbnb listing.


My Path to Spanish Fluency

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I've been asked often what my resources are for learning Spanish. I decided it was time I write a post about it so that I can easily link it to anyone inquiring. I must admit it has been a long journey and hopefully one day I will finally be fluent.

I do feel that living here in Spain and finding a really great teacher has finally gotten me over a hump I had been stuck at for years.

So here's my list of how it all started...

1. I first attended Spanish classes at my local community college when I was in my 20's. It was a great start and incredibly affordable

2. I then did a semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain. I was sooo freaking broke and really should not have done the trip, but I had Spain on the brain and could not let it go.

3. Then I forgot about Spanish for a few years due to adulting and after a while I remembered how much I wanted to be fluent in Spanish and so I started again with an online plan. I had a very long commute to work each day and would listen to the Podcast- Coffee Break Spanish every time I was in the car.  This podcast is SO GOOD. The teacher teaches Castellano and in such a cool way that is untraditional to regular language podcasts. I highly recommend this one!

4. In combination with listening to the Podcast each day I signed up on www.mylanguageexchange.com and found a buddy to do a 2x week phone conversation via the Skype app. My language buddy was Argentinian and wanted to learn English. So once per week we would speak on my lunch break in English and then again the same week only in Spanish.  It was a great way to just start talking in Spanish. We would also skype chat in between calls to get more practice writing. She was a dedicated partner and we sustained our language-exchange for almost a solid year.

5. Moved to Spain and everyday I was confronted with my language limitations. I realized I was no where near where I wanted to be fluency wise. I tried free meetups at coffee shops which DID NOT WORK (for me) because it was terribly inconsistent. Plus- my goal was/is to speak really well, not just "get by". So I did a bit of asking around to my expat friends who spoke good Spanish. I asked them who they studied with and almost everyone recommended Gloria's classes at www.spanishinsitges.com

Currently I am attending in-class lessons with Gloria but her school also offers private classes virtually if needed. It is such a legit program and I feel really confident that I will meet my fluency goals through this school.

I should also say that even though my husband is Spanish, we speak to each other in English because we met in California and started our relationship in English. It is really hard to switch over once you get started in one language. So yeah, I don't get any extra help from him, not with my homework, not with pronunciation- nada. 

So here it is, my language journey and I wish you best on yours!

But be patient and keep looking for a program that works for you if you feel like you are not learning anything in your current program. There are so many options to learn these days that with diligent research, you will find a course/teacher/program that works best for you.


The Beautiful Hens- Now Accepting Submissions

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I've been diligently preparing content for my latest photojournalism project as mentioned in the previous post. I give you, The Beautiful Hens.

It will be filled with stories of women I have been meeting that are forging their own paths in life. 

It's a heart-project that I've been meaning to get started on and I'm glad to have officially launched. I am also teaming up with photographers worldwide to help with the photoshoots as they are coming in from all over the globe. My dormant leadership qualities finally have a place to go now that I have a team to collaborate with.

This is very exciting!

We are currently accepting submissions for stories at www.thebeautifulhens.com