Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

Reflections on a Baja California Vacay

It’s so nice to return to the blog… Between writing my new eBook (Amish Shopkeeper–look for excerpts coming soon!) and mini-vacations here and there, things have been a little crazy.

Last weekend, I visited Baja California with Antonio, Xaviana, and some friends, and was super-inspired by the vibrant culture and seaside beauty. We’ve been talking about road-tripping to Mexico forever, since it’s so close to San Diego, and I’m pumped to share my random reflections with you!

Our first stop was the ocean town of Puerto Nuevo. The music of mariachis filled the air as merchants hawked their wares–everything from hats to jewelry to mini guitars. The salespeople seemed so passionate about their merchandise that everything was hard to resist, and I found myself wondering, “Do I need this random fill-in-the-blank?”

Delicious aromas of fresh coffee and sweets from the dulceria wafted out to greet us as we headed to lunch at a restaurant with a sunny rooftop dining area overlooking the glistening waters of the Pacific. The oysters, lobster, shrimp, and fish were so fresh that they tasted as though they had just been caught an hour ago, and there’s nothing like a real Mexican margarita. 😉

Afterwards, we wandered the colorful streets, stopping at an art cafe. These are fairly popular in Puerto Nuevo, and I think they’re amazing, since they combine two of my favorite things, art and coffee. We purchased a beautiful beach painting from brilliant artist Jorge Prieto B. I admired the paintings and straw art as I sipped my Mexican mocha, which was as spicy, rich, and complex as the local culture itself.

After that, we drove a bit further south to Ensenada, another beach town, and stayed in a resort there.

A shot of our resort at Estero Beach in Ensenada

A shot of our resort at Estero Beach in Ensenada


Ensenada is what I would call “raw”–it has some pretty sketchy areas, a stark contrast to the polished sheen of its tourist district. We had dinner under the stars, in a table overlooking the water, with the music of a nearby wedding serving as the perfect soundtrack. The next morning, we brunched at a classy restaurant with live piano music and authentic Mexican cinnamon rolls and breakfast dishes. I was in love–with the food, the ambience, and the price. I couldn’t get over how excellent the quality of food and service was for the money. If you’re looking for a supremely affordable vacay, Baja California is for you!

That afternoon, we continued to a wine tasting at Shedeh Winery. The wine country was all rolling hills and dry, dusty roads, and, like Southern California, the temperature was considerably warmer inland than by the coast. We enjoyed full-bodied, exotic red wines complemented by fresh bread and tapenade–the perfect end to the perfect mini-getaway.

At the Shedeh Winery, with special guests Xaviana and the Very Hungry Caterpillar ;)

At the Shedeh Winery, with special guests Xaviana and the Very Hungry Caterpillar 😉

After that, we drove back home, spending about an hour and a half at the border in massive lines to get back into the US. It may have been a long time, but it certainly wasn’t boring; there were tons of vendors to keep things interesting. We bought coconut-pineapple ice cream, and enjoyed our last encounter with the vivid Mexican culture–until next time, at least!

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New Vlog: Excerpt from Amish Gossip

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter weekend!

My family and I celebrated Easter with a beautiful sunrise mass at the beach. I am not a morning person, and wasn’t sure how I felt about getting up before the sun like many of my Amish characters do. However, once I was up, ready, and sitting on the beach among the sand and surf, I was glad that I’d decided to go!

The other perk of getting up early was that I felt like I had so much more time than usual. We brunched and napped, and I prepared a banana trifle bowl for dinner with friends that evening. Plus, we shot this video!

So, here I am on Easter, reading an excerpt from my latest eBook, Amish Gossip. Click on the image to watch the YouTube video. My favorite part is when I’m interrupted by a cute surprise guest!

Screenshot 2015-04-06 10.01.19

The book also has a redesigned cover… In honor of the new cover, the book will be free today and tomorrow (April 6th and 7th), so be sure to check it out here: http://goo.gl/9q5LEL

The redesigned cover of Amish Gossip, courtesy of Antonio... What do you think?

The redesigned cover of Amish Gossip, courtesy of Antonio… What do you think?