L.A. Trip Summary

A Great Visit with Special Moments and Treats for a Break:

The Butcher’s Daughter

“Healthy(-ish)” Fro-Yo at Pressed Juicery

Didn’t take a photo of our creations, but they looked similar to this one found via Pinterest.com, 2018

Lassen’s for amazing chocolate truffles and a vegan (cashew and almond-based) barbeque-cabbage collard green wrap with ranch-like dressing


Dulce de Leche gluten-free donut (thanks to Hannah’s offer to share) at Sidecar in Santa Monica

Now that we’ve seen all the main food moments, here’s all the other fantastic moments of the trip, which include:

  • Brunch at Stamp Proper Foods and a walk to the Griffith Observatory with Aunt FABULOUS Jackie
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  • Church of St. Monica in Santa Monica (story below), read about their adjacent coffee shop, Holy Grounds, as a vocational step program for those with time incarcerated: https://aleteia.org/2018/05/08/church-coffee-shops-are-creating-a-stir-in-their-communities/
  • A free trial pass at Equinox gym in case fieldwork or work opportunities ever brought me here to California (this involved the stair stepper, elliptical, weight machines, stretching with a foam roller, shower with their provided towels, razors, shaving cream, and top-end shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion, plus  a half hour lavender steam room. The saltwater pool will need to be attempted soon enough).
  • A day at the Santa Monica pier and spending a few hours laying out at the beach (ended up with a slight burn on my face):
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  • Getting about 20,000 steps or more each day looking at all the streets of L.A., plus seeing Hannah at work and going to see a sunset with her:
    • My first professional facial EVER at Face Haus in West Hollywood:

    • I passed by the high-end bridal boutique Kinsley James Couture and WOW did they have a nice display of dresses…just window-peeping, nothing more! I love looking at dresses though so I’ve probably done this since 4 years old (always secretly wanted the ability to sew together my own clothes…maybe as a part of a vocational program I can work to make this happen for others and pick up pointers along the way…my clients could ultimately teach me their craft!).


Also, post-facial selfie is a must and this was the process to get there (they said my skin was dry and they had to do extractions throughout face for blemishes…yep):



Physical exfoliant (could feel grainy material in the cream)

Mango exfoliant (acidic exfoliation)

Milky something-cream

Warm wash cloth


Extraction (nose, forehead, high cheeks, lower jaw/chin) > with gloves on, wiped lightly after each

Toner: lavender essential oil with colloidal silver

Lauric acid

Oxygen (cold)

Bentonite clay mask w/orange on chin/jaw and nose

Strawberry mask around rest of face with fan brush

Cucumber on eyes, sit with the two masks on different areas for 5 mins

Ice Cold (jade) facial roller

Warm wash cloth

Lotion/spf combination

By the way, this is what extractions are (I did not know this existed until arriving):

  • A visit to the Broad Museum in Downtown L.A. (free entry!):
An art piece (from the Philippines if I remember correctly) made entirely out of recycled waste material
  • Concert at El Rey Theatre (and lettuce-wrapped chicken and carne asada) for The Weepies, where I met Hannah’s lovely friends and got to enjoy a good band
    Tried fantastic Mexican-style ceviche (well maybe not AS great as Peruvian ceviche, but still fresh and excellent).
    Market in downtown L.A.

    Also in downtown L.A., I just happened to come across *the coolest* bookstore! The Catholic book section was smaller than I would like, but I still managed to find three books and wish I could have brought home many more! See more from an article here.


    Now here’s the story referenced above from visiting the St. Monica Church:

    I arrived to the church with open doors by driving by it and thinking that due to the cloudy past hours, I would continue on with Hannah to downtown LA to see museums instead of my day planned exploring the beach area of Santa Monica. I was having one of those ‘sad hole in your heart’ moments that happens when I have not taken enough intentional, quiet time in prayer (this had been building over three days). I saw this church, I already regretted passing by it in the car silently, the first few rays of light broke through clouds within a minute of passing by the church. I had my resolution set: there was sun and I wanted to see that church! I asked Hannah to drop me off and within thirty seconds, I was on my way back a block. Mass was only an hour away and I was THRILLED. I sat down to journal and ended up praying a rosary for Hannah’s intentions because she has a CRAZY friend that just asks to be randomly dropped off at street corners on no notice, am I right? (Sorry Hannah…). Anyway, as I’m doing this and praying in front of a beautiful Marian alter, an older Hispanic adult nanny and a blonde, blue-eyed toddler are standing toward the back of the church. They finally make their way up to the alter, speaking in hushed Spanish to each other. We smile at each other. I make some comment about this beautiful moment she’s allowing for the child and his infant sibling. She speaks back to me in Spanish, which is already an honor as I don’t have the most fluid accent. She tells me that she asked him to go to the park but he insisted that he wanted to see Jesus, so they went first and foremost to this church. While there, he was worried that God was up so high and he wanted Him to come down and be with us, but worried that it might hurt him to fall from so high. The sweet nanny told me this story and asked the boy to give me a hug. It was such a precious moment that I will always remember. She told me to visit the coffee shop next door where her son worked. I ended up going after mass and buying a child rosary toy for Mariano, my nephew who had been born early that morning in Peru, and a book, I Loved Jesus in the Night by St. Mother Teresa (one of my absolute favorite books), for Hannah. These are my moments I’ll savor and thank God for knowing Him, because the disciple of His followers and believers is where I find the most beauty in life.


    Hope you enjoyed reading about my mostly-solo visit in L.A. My best friend Hannah has so many great opportunities all around her.

New Souls // Nuove Anime


“Mary”: Met this elderly woman walking into the church in H’s neighborhood (photos above). We talked for half an hour before my brunch date with my amazing aunt. I made sure to give her my journal and pencil, but I felt disillusioned seeing how she did not take to writing anything down. I wrote down the Catholic Charities address and made sure she had a pamphlet for a medical organization to continue medications. This all may likely be routine for her. She spoke of her family and was very concerned about Mother’s Day coming so soon. She spoke of having no home. She smelled like no one had offered her a shower in a few weeks. She was worried about soda drinks and coffee intake due to her medications, and she wanted to know the best way to improve her calcium levels. I gave her holy water on her finger and taught her how to make the sign of the cross. I mentioned how the Virgin Mary is our mother so every Mother’s Day is ultimately in her honor no matter the circumstances. She wanted me to look at her wrist and feet after I let her know about my education (could not manage full wrist flexion). I left wondering how many people were nice to her; L.A. seemed to be the place of friendly, diverse people (a true melting pot in the best sense) and I felt like I was just sub-par compared to other Lyft passengers’ interest in the lives and courtesies for our shared driver. This is why I travel. I met Mary and I loved meeting Mary. She expressed interest in working, but had never worked her whole life (nor had her deceased husband). I thought I had entered that Catholic church to pray for a half hour, but I ended up leaving the church to head to brunch with an important intention for a rosary walk. Of course I looked weird with a rosary in hand to those I passed on Los Feliz amongst grand mansions, but here I was and after meeting Mary, how could I not be moved to pray for her? // “Mary”: ho incontrato questa donna anziana che camminava nella chiesa nel quartiere di H (foto sopra). Abbiamo parlato per mezz’ora prima che il mio brunch finisse con la mia stupenda zia. Mi sono assicurato di darle il mio diario e la matita, ma mi sentivo disilluso nel vedere come lei non si prendesse la briga di scrivere qualcosa. Ho trascritto l’indirizzo Catholic Charities e mi sono assicurato che avesse un opuscolo per un’organizzazione medica per continuare i farmaci. Tutto questo potrebbe probabilmente essere di routine per lei. Ha parlato della sua famiglia ed era molto preoccupata che la festa della mamma arrivasse così presto. Ha parlato di non avere una casa. Odorava come se nessuno le avesse offerto una doccia in poche settimane. Era preoccupata per le bevande gassate e l’assunzione di caffè a causa dei suoi farmaci, e voleva sapere il modo migliore per migliorare i suoi livelli di calcio. Le ho dato l’acqua santa al dito e le ho insegnato come fare il segno della croce. Ho menzionato come la Vergine Maria è nostra madre, quindi ogni festa della mamma è in definitiva in suo onore, non importa le circostanze. Voleva che guardassi i suoi polsi e i suoi piedi dopo averle informato della mia educazione (non riuscivo a gestire la flessione completa del polso). Ho lasciato a chiedermi quante persone fossero gentili con lei; L.A. sembrava essere il luogo di persone amichevoli e diverse (un vero melting pot nel senso migliore) e mi sentivo come se fossi un parente paragonato agli altri interessi dei Lyft nei confronti delle vite e delle cortesie per il nostro autista condiviso. Questo è il motivo per cui viaggio. Ho incontrato Maria e ho amato incontrare Maria. Ha espresso interesse per il lavoro, ma non ha mai lavorato per tutta la vita (né ha avuto il marito defunto). Pensavo di essere entrato in quella chiesa cattolica per pregare per mezz’ora, ma alla fine ho lasciato la chiesa per dirigermi al brunch con un’importante intenzione per una passeggiata al rosario. Certo, avevo un aspetto strano con un rosario in mano a quelli che ho passato a Los Feliz tra grandi palazzi, ma eccomi qui e dopo aver incontrato Maria, come potevo non essere mosso a pregare per lei?

Moments like this made me look into Catholic Charities and realize that when they speak of homelessness services being ‘counseling, education, job training and support’…that is an exact fit with (one of so many realms of) occupational therapy. I had been praying around with an idea to have an OTM (OT On-The-Move) Studio (fine/applied arts for vocational and rehabilitative purposes) by buying easels, etc. and keeping them in a small storage trailer to bring an OT artist space as needed…and as I read about local Iowa Catholic Charities prison outreach, my mind started rolling out possibilities. Let’s pray for this! Amen.


As I present on cultural traditions within my family, of course the Arequipa side of my family comes to mind first and foremost when I consider traditional food. Let this video show you where I to church each week with my Peruvian mother, plus all the parts of my neighborhood in Arequipa (yes, my neighborhood is where the traditional ‘picanteria’ food movement began!). I share it to you all with the love that goes into each dish:

As I now live in Iowa for grad school, this tourism promotional video from a few years ago seems quite relevant. On one of the first days of my intro classes before beginning as a full-time fully-immersed student in my Peruvian university environment the following semester, our professor Alan showed us this video and it has stayed with me ever since:

Of course one must watch something about ceviche to understand Peru:

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ceviche 3.jpg

Finally, this last video is in honor of my sister and brother-in-law who are starting a healthy eating movement via great products distributed at reasonable prices throughout Arequipa:

(Google and Pinterest helped me out with the three illustrations found on 4/15/18)

College Basics: Back Around to Further Love Those I Meet Today

In class this week during a presentation, a point was brought up, “A discussion should not be two people shouting barely-related sentences at each other.” Good point. There needs to be active, full listening involved.

The presentation continues, “If you want to get up on a soap box and shout without caring to hear anyone else’s opinion, write a blog.”

While this can be true, it is definitely not the rule of a blog writer. I hope we can all welcome comments. I hope we can all take great ideas we’ve heard from others and use a blogging platform to amplify the voices of others, not even our own voice, when they speak more clearly.

As this is the case, I’d like to share some videos that get across some ideas I had to learn through my experience and by loving and knowing others and their experiences. Just to make sure we all know that we’re in this huge learning experience of life together, I thought I’d add in relevant images to make sure I can keep others up to speed about where I’ve been and where A and I are going, by God’s grace alone through the gift of pursuing cooperation:

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Life Balance…or Life Priorities?

I’d argue this…

The easy response to this post is to watch the TED talk at the bottom of this post and *maybe* glance over the following link that has a free archive of a book I’ve been reading lately that has REVOLUTIONIZED the way I approach family life and values.

For example, what is the difference between an objective and a priority?

How does divorce affect each partner and their children (the part we may be blind to in our culture)?

Who are the biggest promoters of pornography for kids, and when did it become okay for adults to decide if they would like to participate in a culture of death and/or violence?

This book speaks of a LOT of important topics that any professional that will ever encounter a Christian in their practice should be able to read through to know a perspective that their viewpoint may hold a semblance to:

Click here for online version of book or buy it on Amazon here.


Here’s the TED talk that is digested much better after reading all (yes, all…even when it takes you a few months) of the book listed above:

Life Update // Aggiornamento della vita

An EWTN interview of Katie Davis Majors, the author of *highly recommended* Kisses for Katie: 

Here is a mini interview of Katie given by her husband:

You can pre-order her new book which will be available to read in October 2018:

I’d just like to share a little prayer to everyone being touched both in the U.S. and throughout the world by those who are unafraid to pray daily (especially when they don’t feel like it), unafraid to ask questions of incomplete satisfaction with life as we know it and look relentlessly for answers, unafraid to accept natural laws to humanity, and unafraid to believe in Christ, which begets loving action toward those near them, for the sake of themselves and others:

Oh Loving Lord,

Do you see my family?

Do you see how we have struggled?
Do you see how we have hurt?

Even each other, pain going back, for generations.

So right here, right now, in Your presence, I claim the promises You set forth for me, and for my family.

Not a perfect family, that never suffers, that never bleeds, but a family united IN LOVE, in Spirit and in Truth.

This can only come by Your grace, oh loving Lord.

So pour yourself out, upon us.

Wash us clean again.

Reach down, restore us.

Through your mercy, through your love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.


(Featured image source: Amazima Ministeries via Pinterest, 4/8/18)

Self-Esteem and Self-Image: Where We Can Always Improve // Terapia di gruppo: immagine di sé e autostima

This is an introductory video to the theme that puts real faces to a glimpse of their stories:

Isabel speaks to us about being 71 years old but feeling 17 years old…and not being afraid of vulnerability. She has gained spirituality and accepted the closeness of death.

This man speaks of the reality of being happy when children show demonstrate cowardice (they stay alive that way); but he challenges this, “do you know why you were born?” See more:

He speaks about being afraid before being in front of others who expect a performance from you:

J.K. Rowling addresses a privileged crowd, but the message seems to be for us as much (or more than) as for them:


If one was to incorporate these video lessons into a group format to help graduate students improve their self-esteem habits and self-image, it may roll into something like this:

Click here for group outline on self-esteem!

Here is the Word Doc format of the self-rating survey tool used among group participants:

How do I rate my current self

Finally, this Word Document contains the thought prompts that participants read out loud at the beginning of the first discussion circle:
Introduction to Self-Esteem