Short Yoga Sequence for Neck or Shoulder Relief

by Laura McCorry

Do you ever sit in front of a computer and type? Hold your phone with your ear and shoulder? Wrangle a small, squirming child?

Restorative Fish Pose

So many daily activities cause tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders. Try this super short sequence to find relief at home and when you can, join us for Restorative Yoga with Missy, Fridays at 4:30pm.

  • Gentle Head Rolling. Take a comfortable seat, ensuring your feet are hip distance and parallel, and sit tall, gently drawing the shoulder blades onto your back. Allow your head to bow forward towards your chest. After a few breaths, slowly roll your head towards one shoulder, then again towards the chest. Repeat a few times moving mindfully from side to side.
  • Backbend with Cactus Arms. Inhale and extend your arms straight up towards the ceiling with the palms facing one another. (Yelling, “Touch down!” is optional). On your exhale, bend your elbows to ninety degrees (cactus arms). Powerfully lift your chest, allowing your gaze to lift as well but keeping the back of your neck long. Alternate straightening and bending the elbows, moving between these two poses as you breath in and out, or hold each one static for 5-8 breaths.
  • Cat and Cow Poses. Come to the ground in table top with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and arch your back, drawing the shoulder blades together, gaze gently up (cow pose). Then exhale and round your back towards the sky, pressing the floor away and looking between your hands (cat pose). Stay connected to your breath while you flow between these two poses.
  • Restorative Fish Pose. If you have yoga blocks, place one block horizontal (medium height) just below the shoulder blades on your back and a second block (tall height) underneath your head. Alternatively, you can use a rolled up blanket beneath your shoulder blades and a pillow under your head. Stretch your legs out long or place a rolled blanket underneath your knees to alleviate tightness in your lower back. Stay here and breathe for up to five minutes.

Now take a moment to acknowledge the difference in your body, mind, and spirit. Thank yourself for making this time to offer yourself gratitude and loving-kindness.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Finding Love at Yoga One

fiction by Laura McCorry

Ally hadn’t taken a yoga class in a long time. Her first (and last) class had been at her boyfriend Evan’s gym downtown. She had agreed to go on a date with Evan simply because when she moved, he was the only person she knew in San Diego. Before she knew it, they’d been dating for six months.

Things didn’t work out with Evan. Ally was the kind of girl who wanted a plan in life and Evan found the whole concept of planning not just unnecessary, but, somehow fundamentally wrong. Just before they broke up, he’d invited her to try the yoga class.

What do you mean you’ve never done yoga? How long have you lived here now? You have to try yoga at least once if you’re ever going to call yourself a local. Evan had pleaded with her. 

Evan was right. Yoga was just as much a part of the air in San Diego as salt from the Pacific Ocean. The yoga class itself was fine. The instructor was a thin, bendy woman with her hair gathered in a messy ponytail. Ally copied the poses as best she could and at the end of an hour, she felt tired both physically and mentally from trying to keep up. She wrote off yoga as just one of those things that wasn’t for her.

About two years later on a Saturday morning, Ally was sitting at an open air table at one of the trendy brunch restaurants downtown. Across from her sat tall, lean, dark-haired Tyler. He lived in her building and she mostly saw him in the elevators. 

They had the kind of conversations that were always upbeat, slightly humorous, and usually referenced the weather. Ally thought it was strange to talk about the weather in San Diego, where the temperature only varied about ten degrees in a year, but she guessed some things stayed the same no matter where you lived.

After their first conversation, Ally ran into Tyler all the time. Once she even thought she saw him walking out of a coffee shop near her work, but she couldn’t be sure. Each time they met, she caught herself smiling more and touching her hair. Then, just when she was sure he must not be interested, Tyler asked her out.

Most of the men she dated wanted to go out for drinks at night. Tyler had asked her to brunch. And now he was asking her to go to yoga.

They had finished their meal and the bright midday sun struck the awning overhead and made everything in the street blur and their table feel comfortably secluded. Ally couldn’t remember the last time she had so enjoyed a getting-to-know-you conversation.

“Look, I know we don’t know each other very well,” Tyler was saying, “but I’ve got a super good feeling about you. I feel like we understand each other without trying too hard.”

Beneath the table, Ally stretched the cloth napkin between her fingers and smiled at Tyler encouragingly.

“I’m big into yoga and there’s this class that I’d love to go to, but it’s a partner class. I know you said you don’t do yoga, but I was wondering if you would make an exception. I’d love to introduce you to my studio, it’s called Yoga One.” Tyler looked at her earnestly, his eyes bright.

At that moment, Ally thought she would probably agree to go wind-surfing or dirt biking or any other improbable activity that Tyler proposed but she didn’t want to seem too eager.

“Yea, okay, I mean, I can probably give yoga another try,” she replied with a smile.

“Great!” said Tyler. “It’s next week and you’re going to love the instructor. I promise, this class will make up for every mediocre yoga class you’ve ever attended.”

“Well I’ve only been to one…”

Tyler laughed as if she were joking. “Okay, one more thing. Please don’t read anything serious into this, but it’s called a Valentine’s Yoga class. There are plenty of people coming who are just friends though, it’s really just a partner class and you can bring your valentine, or you can just bring someone you like, totally chill.”

Ally floated through the rest of that afternoon and evening but by the day of the yoga class, she had come down to earth. She worried one minute that Tyler was too serious. She worried the next minute that he wasn’t serious at all. Then she worried about not knowing anything about yoga.

Somehow Ally made it to the studio, signed the registration form, and was ushered upstairs into an airy, skylit yoga room where everyone spoke in soft voices and walked about gracefully on the hardwood floors. Ally saw Tyler already setting out a mat for her and she was glad they would be away from the front. 

“Hi, you must be Ally,” said a bright voice at her elbow. Ally turned to see a trim woman with a friendly, open face and loose dark hair. “Tyler told us he was bringing someone new. Welcome, I’m Amy.”

Amy reassured her that the class would be appropriate for beginners and encouraged her to go at her own pace. It was such a nice touch, a personal welcome. Ally stepped onto her mat and smiled a bit nervously at Tyler. But when she heard Amy’s voice invite the class to begin she felt curiously at ease.

They moved through some opening stretches and deep breathing before starting the partnered poses. Ally was deliciously conscious of Tyler’s body near hers and she loved that he always asked or looked to her for consent before touching her back or holding her hand during tree pose. Every move they made was no more intimate than anything she would do with a friend, but Ally felt the current of attraction running between them.

After some time though, Ally became aware of another sensation. Her breath was slow and steady, which cleared her head and brought a small feeling of lightness in her habitually tight shoulders. 

The yoga poses were changing the way she felt in her body. Underneath all the layers of her everyday life, working at her desk, leaning against the wall in the elevator, curled up on her couch at night, she felt a latent brightness in her body ready to break free. As if this way of moving and breathing called yoga could make her feel again the way she had as a kid, easy and unselfconscious.

When the class ended, Ally pressed her hands together in front of her heart and softly said “namaste” with the group. She turned to Tyler and smiled. He smiled back with a knowing look. 

Ally wasn’t sure what would happen next between her and Tyler. But she did know that this time, she was ready for a serious relationship with yoga.

*****

Experience for yourself our Valentine’s Partner Yoga Playshop

led by Amy and Michael Caldwell

Get in touch with your partner or reconnect with a good friend through the joys and benefits of yoga. Come practice poses together, share some quality time and celebrate friendship and love.

By candlelight you will be guided through fun and accessible partner poses, assisting each other with hands on adjustments and optimal alignment cues, go deeper into your practice and the present moment. Chocolate will be provided. No experience necessary.

When: 6:30-8pm, Saturday, February 9th.

Cost: $50 per couple when registered by February 2nd, $60 thereafter. Pre-registration only. The last date to register is February 6th. Space is limited.

Info@yogaonesandiego.com, 619-544-0587

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Beyond the Mat: Karen Beers

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Karen Beers.

1. Why do you practice yoga? 

Yoga helps me reset and reenergize. Each time I step onto the mat, I access an internal sense of self through simple breath focusing techniques. The practice of yoga quiets the chatter of the mind, softens emotions, and encourages present moment awareness. I am able to reconnect with myself, peeling back layers of stress until I feel grounded, refreshed and balanced within.

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of teaching when you first started?

Being an educator, I’m quite comfortable instructing a class. However teaching in a classroom is vastly different from teaching yoga. When I first became a yoga instructor, reaching students of all ability levels was the most intimidating aspect. It takes a lot of preparation to ensure that all students are guided well. By providing options and modification of postures, I ensure that all students can have a rewarding experience.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor? 

Providing space for community and connection brings me great joy as a yoga instructor. So much of our days are spent focused on individual tasks, it’s very important that we take time to acknowledge each person with whom we share the yoga experience. This connection with others promotes a more relaxed state of present moment awareness. The end result then can be a collective sense of calm and tranquility that brings a smile to everyone’s faces.

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, it would be…

“In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane: This song is the essence of positive energy. It has a slow, smooth introduction, progressing into a layered melody that transports you on your own personal journey. It’s filled with incredible talent, improvisation, and inspiration.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?  

Besides yoga philosophy and principles, master yoga instructors are my inspiration. I’m enamored of people who have practiced and devoted themselves to sharing the gifts of yoga, including Tao Porchon-Lynch, Kia Miller, Jason Crandell, and Shiva Rea.  Each of these individuals have their own specialization and depth of understanding that they impart through their teaching. Yoga has so much knowledge to share.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One? 

I teach Level 1-2 Flow, Sundays at 10:30am.

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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The Best Gift Ever

by Laura McCorry

It’s December and like many of you, I’m making a list and checking it twice, trying to find thoughtful gifts for all the people I love best. Holiday shopping has never been easy, but in recent years I’ve decided my gift-giving should be eco-conscious, ethically-sourced, and in line with minimalism, as well as something that will bring joy to the recipient. Phew.

You know what we don’t need this holiday season? Another gift guide listing things to buy. Even the most-desired, best-chosen gift in the world cannot make you happy. Happiness is something you have to make within yourself.

For yogis, happiness (or contentment) is the moral observance of Santosha, one of the niyamas. Through this lens, happiness is not something you have, it’s a way of being and something you practice.

The Best Gift Ever? THE Present. The actual present moment. 

Here are 6 ways to enjoy the present moment this holiday season:

  1. Breathe. You don’t need to follow a specific pranayama, or breath control technique. Just observe your breath as you inhale and exhale. Breathe slowly, without effort, until you feel calm.
  2. Let Go. Let go of things you wanted to do. Let go of parties you don’t want to attend. Let go of your expectations for others. Let go of your expectations for yourself. There are so many burdens you can simply drop.
  3. Observe. What is happening right this moment? Between our calendars, the pull of the internet, and social media, we are too often caught swirling somewhere virtual. Ground yourself mentally in the same place as your physical self. Then anchor your mind were you are at that moment, (not the past or the future) the present.
  4. Care for Your Needs. It’s hard to be present and at peace when you’re really hungry. Or too tired. Or your feet are too cold. Take a break to feed yourself, go to bed earlier, or put on some socks. Your body will thank you for noticing.
  5. Give Your Full Attention. Helping others makes us feel good! That’s why we like to give gifts. Give the gift of your full attention to whoever is closest. Make eye contact. Truly listen.
  6. Set a Reminder. It can be as simple as an alarm on your phone or a meditation app or anytime that you think of chocolate or coffee, that will prompt you once a day. Take a few minutes each day to breathe and check in with yourself.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Give the Gift of Yoga

Wishing you healthy, happy holidays
from all of us at Yoga One!

The above words are how students have described feeling after practicing at Yoga One!

Give the gifts of Yoga and Massage!

Special holiday offers available until December 21st:
 10 Yoga Classes for only $120
(normally $187, SAVE $67!)*
Click here and use promo code: cheers
*Package expires 6 months from the first class attended (not from purchase date).
No refunds or extensions. Must be purchased by December 21st.

Gift Certificates are also available in any denomination.

Click here for Yoga One holiday schedule.

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Thanksgiving Gratitudes: A (Non-comprehensive) List

by Laura McCorry

As Yoga One Teacher Nam Chanterrywn likes to share after his yoga classes, “The more gratitude we have, the more we have to to be grateful for.”

What things great and small do you have to be grateful for and appreciative of? What are you thankful for? Let us know in the comment section below.

Thanksgiving Gratitudes: (a non-comprehensive list)

• bright sunshine on a cold day and the constancy of the natural world

• a warm coat that keeps out the wind, and the many other forms of shelter that keep me comfortable and safe

• the groceries I lug up two flights of stairs, because we have the resources to buy, transport, and cook good food for our family

• my partner, who is always ALL IN on this wild ride of parenting small children

• the limit-pushing toddler, which means she’s healthy and growing just as she should be

• the baby who brings so much joy with just her smile

• neighbors who drop by to visit

• family that are only a phone call away

• restorative yoga for the days when everything feels like too much

• for sharing the truth of Thanksgiving with my children without losing its spirit

• the belief that Justice and Truth will prevail

• the work of my hands, the words of my mouth, and the power of my wallet which work towards Justice and Truth

• the meditation of my heart: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu, May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

 

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Yogi Reads: Your 3 Best Super Powers

by Olivia Hughes

Your 3 Best Super Powers: Meditation, Intuition & Imagination

by Sonia Choquette

Summary: Super powers! They’re not just for super heroes. These abilities exist within each of us, just waiting to be awakened.

Sonia Choquette outlines tools and techniques to develop the super powers of Meditation, Intuition, and Imagination. She believes these three practices, especially when taken together, can have a powerful impact on a person’s life.

Choquette explains that as you spend time developing your “super powers,” you will notice a shift. Where your attention goes, new energy flows. As this alignment deepens, you begin to feel more in tune with yourself, your source of energy, and the world around you.

Why I Love It: This book is so accessible! Sometimes spiritual guidebooks can be challenging to understand or to apply to your everyday life. Your 3 Best Super Powers begins with guided meditations so the reader can dive right into their practice honing these skills. Beginning with meditation and allowing everything to blossom from that fertile soil really resonated with me. Through meditation, both intuition and imagination are strengthened. And the mind is filled with space, calm, and clarity.

By strengthening these practices myself, I was able to stop taking things so personally. I began to see life as happening for me, not to me, which released the victim mentality and allowed me to take my power back! To Choquette’s three super powers, I would add Love and Forgiveness.

Recommended For: Everyone who wants to be their best self! You already have within you everything you need to begin the work of transformation. There is no one-size-fits-all in this world. We are all so unique, special, gifted, and beautiful. The world can easily take us away from this truth. Your 3 Best Superpowers: Meditation, Intuition & Imagination is ideal for anyone who needs to remember that they are unique, and that alone is a super power!!!

Olivia headshotOlivia Hughes
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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To Be a Sponge or a Sieve

by Laura McCorry

I’ve been feeling lately like all of my life is effort and struggle. The daily work of keeping myself and my children clothed, clean, fed, and rested requires physical stamina and takes up most of the day. Once they’re in bed for the night, I’m often too tired to engage in an activity that brings me joy or restores my spirit (like writing or yoga.) Instead I’ll turn to the things that patch my heart (call my Mama, listen to podcasts, add a few more rows to a crochet project) so I can go to sleep and take up my work again the next day.

When I did make it to yoga class, the teacher’s steady voice slipped past my ears into my heart: try to find the balance between effort and ease. 

There are words you know by heart. Words you’ve said aloud many times. And yet, when someone else says these words, they can sound completely new. How do you soften your response to life’s trial?

One afternoon, both of my children were crying hard. I noticed my jaw was clenched and I felt completely overwhelmed. I realized I had been a sponge trying to soak up all of their emotions, in order to give them the space to unburden and let go – but that I hadn’t granted myself the same relief. I desperately needed to reframe my mental approach so I could find the ease, because the sponge was over-saturated.

A sieve under running water was the image that stuck in my head and which I’ve called to mind when I feel the flow of emotion from those two, dear tiny humans, my children. Sieve, noun. A device for separating wanted elements from unwanted material (thanks, Wikipedia.) It hasn’t transformed my daily experience into one of constant ease, but it has lessened the burden of effort.

This too, is yoga. Off the mat yoga, away from asana, the physical postures. This is the deep yoga, the words you hear in class working their way slowly into your heart and mind and into new expressions in your life. Try to find the balance between effort and ease. Let that which no longer serves you slip away. You can choose your response to life. Not just in a warrior pose, but everywhere, at all times. Wishing you, dear reader, the blessings of equanimity.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura(AT)yogaonesandiego(DOT)com

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Beyond the Mat: Zoe Freedman

How do yoga teachers feel about their practice? What inspires them to keep teaching and keep practicing yoga? Get to know your Yoga One teachers outside the studio and off the mat. This month’s interview is with Zoe Freedman.

1. Why do you practice yoga?

I practice for so many reasons! Firstly, because it feels delicious in my body. I love to cultivate more space, shift stagnation, and allow each part of my physical being to stretch and strengthen.

I also love finding a meditative flow with my breath, clearing my mind, and creating mental space for genius ideas to sprout. It’s time away from technology as well, which is an added bonus!

2. What was the most intimidating aspect of our teaching when you first started?

I spent two years convinced I didn’t have anything unique to offer my students, and that took a lot of patience and commitment to break through.

3. What gives you the most joy as a yoga instructor?

First and foremost, connecting with incredible humans. Secondly, assisting my students in feeling more comfortable in their bodies. We only get one… life is too short to stay stiff and uncomfortable!

4. If yoga were a food, car, smell, planet, song, artist, flavor, etc… it would be: Lavender.

5. What’s your yoga inspiration?

My yoga inspiration is anyone who shows up for themselves again and again, no matter what life throws their way. Those who commit to seeking enlightenment and inner peace, through all eight limbs of yoga. There are too many incredible yogis doing this to name! Many of my students are such yogis, who inspire me every day.

6. What classes do you teach at Yoga One?

I teach Vinyasa Flow levels 1 & 2 on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm!

You can find our full class schedule here. Om!

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Yoga One Teacher Training Summer Session

200-Hours of Study, A Three Week Transformation

guest post by Stacey Ebert

A little over three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. I couldn’t imagine how I would budget my time and had no clue what I’d do in the training I was about to experience.

Now that Yoga One’s 200-hour Teacher Training has come to a close, I’m having yoga withdrawals. I can’t imagine what I’ll do with all this extra time and I am overwhelmed by the emotions stirred up by this magical experience. Since I’ve known them for well over a year now, I’m sure the owners Amy and Michael Caldwell, and OM (Office Manager) Missy DiDonato knew this would be the case – but I didn’t. Needless to say, I’m eternally grateful.

The transformation is palpable. I’ve heard of it happening, but I didn’t know it would happen to me. I jumped in hoping for a deeper understanding of my practice (with only the smidgeon of thought that perhaps, maybe, I might, someday think about teaching). I didn’t expect what would transpire. I entered with eyes wide open; I leave with a soaring spirit, curious mind, open heart (shoulders and hips, too), and a thirst for more.

Together, the 14 of us went through many rounds of practice teaching. We learned to consciously listen, to accept constructive criticism, to provide positive feedback and to give each other useful suggestions along the way. We grew. My wonky scoliosis came in handy for those who needed a visual and ideas for modifications that work for those with an atypical spine. We learned to ask before adjusting, use props to elevate and elongate, check in with prenatal poses, and wind down in the delight of restorative everything.

Together we saw the changes taking place. Greater strength and flexibility occurred, muscles ached and developed, the shy students grew emboldened, those with questions encouraged, and all of us were empowered and enlightened. Whether on a paddleboard, in a pose, or at a potluck – we were united in yoga, inspired by our teacher Amy Caldwell, and determined to learn the paths and postures of this ancient wisdom. 

Through adjustments, asanas, and alignment details, Amy never waned. She was there through it all with patience, suggestions, knowledge, and experience. Her welcoming, trustworthy nature fostered a safe, risk-free environment for all to blossom. Hers is a classroom of open communication, trust, guidance, and facilitation. Buoyed by Amy’s easy-going demeanor, we, her students, thrived. She guided us through the three week course with kindness, patience, profound wisdom, and much pranayama (breathwork).

When I posted on social media that I was taking this class, a former student replied ‘once a teacher, always a teacher’. I’ve been a student of yoga for almost a decade and taught in and out of the classroom for far longer. I’ve practiced yoga on two coasts and in fun spots around the globe. Of course, year one of teaching (or practicing) is different than year 8, year 15 or year 20, but from personal experience (both as a student and teacher), I know what I believe it takes to be a good teacher… and I can say with confidence that Amy has all that and more.

It’s mind-blowing to know that in such a (relatively) short time, Yoga One packed 200 hours of information and engagement into our brains and our bodies. Fourteen strangers stepped onto their mats in a studio new to many of them. Three weeks later, we’ve left as friends who were united in something greater than ourselves and who experienced moments that none of us will soon forget.

Mindfulness flourished in the studio; and although there’s no telling where all this will lead, I know for certain the light cultivated will not be extinguished. I’m proud of all of us and grateful for the practice and the people. I am indebted to Amy, my friend and teacher, and I will never forget this experience that literally cracked my soul wide open. Namaste.

Stacey Ebert
Guest Writer

Stacey Ebert is a freelance writer, educator, event planner, and volunteer coordinator who has traveled to over 50 of the world’s countries. Writing about adventure, journey and perspective changing life shifts, she encourages travelers to take the leap, use the world as their classroom and get outside their comfort zones. She has lived in Long Beach (New York), Melbourne (Australia) and is presently based in San Diego (California). Connect with her on her blog, The Gift of Travel, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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