the best
Most photos taken by Chris Duh.

There’s nothing like playing on the beach to rejuvenate your soul!  We spent this past week in Southern California, and although we saw our share of rain, getting to run around barefoot instead of wearing snow boots was just the boost we needed to get through the rest of our midwestern winter.
kes on the beach

This was the first time Kestan’s toes have ever touched the sand and as you can tell from this photo, it was pretty darn exciting.
feeling free

What a complete joy to run around the beach with my boys.  We had so much fun on our adventure out west, and getting to feel the water and smell the ocean was definitely a highlight for me.
us on the beach
modern talent

Speaking of highlights, we had the special opportunity to visit the set of our favorite TV show, Modern Family.  (If you don’t watch it, you should!)  Many months ago we purchased a silent auction item to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City. The auction item included 2 nights in a North Hollywood hotel and a chance to see a taping and visit the cast of the show.  Eric Stonestreet, who plays the hilarious Cam, donated the gift.  He happens to be from the Kansas City area, so it was fun to show up the day of our visit and see him wearing a K-State t-shirt.  (Even though I went to his rival school KU!)
  
walking into set

We showed up just after casting call around 7:45 in the morning.  This is the front of the stage and behind these doors is where the filming magic takes place.

close up

I’m ready for my close-up…
modern family set 3

We spent most of our day in these chairs, listening to headsets and watching monitors of the days taping. On this particular day they were shooting the mother’s day episode.  We were lucky that the scenes being filmed were of a gathering with the entire family at Jay and Gloria’s house, so all the cast members were there.

modern family set

We had fun taking a tour of all of the houses.  This is the Dunphy couch in their kitchen.

modern family set 2

Here we are in front of Mitchell and Cam’s fireplace.

modern set family 4

This is their dining room and the place where Mitchell and Cam film their camera interviews.

iheartphil

We had the chance to see the entire cast, but actually got a little time to visit with Eric and Ty (who plays Phil).  Although, I have to admit, I wish we could have had a longer time to talk with them and ask questions.  (It’s like they were busy working or something!) I’m happy to share that both Eric and Ty are super cool and down-to-earth.  We talked with Eric off and on throughout the day, and even met his mom and cousins who were in town visiting from KC.  I was excited to get this picture, as these guys are my favorite actors from the show.  (I really heart Phil and he’s as nice as can be in person.)  
hanging with friends

In addition to our jaunt in Hollywood, we spent some quality time in Newport Beach with my best friends in the world (who we haven’t seen in four years).  

the family

We mostly just hung out at their house while the boys played, but braved a chilly morning to take a ferry ride to explore Balboa Island.

balboa beach

disneyland

On our last day we made a spontaneous visit to Disneyland when we found out that our friend, (who happens to be the new official voice of Mickey Mouse) was going to be at the park that day.  

rides

We had so much fun and discovered that our 3-year-old is quite the thrill seeker.  He LOVED the rides – especially the rollercoaster in Mickey’s Toontown.

happy ashton

beautifulkestan

Our trip to California truly was inspiring on so many levels.  The raw, vegan food we ate furthered my interest and excitement about sacred cooking.  After getting a taste of the warmer weather I came back with a deeper appreciation of the change in seasons.  I was reminded that good friendships are a treasure.  I was gifted with quality family time away from the computer.  I learned that sometimes you just gotta seize the moment and not hold back.  I broke free of our daily routine and really enjoyed being fully present with each new experience. And I was reminded of the most important thing of all – that I am so in love with my life.   

mommy and ash in cali

Your Personal Reflection:  Have you stepped away from your usual surroundings and regular routine in a while?  Are you in the mood for a change of scenery?  Even if you aren’t planning to travel far from home, see if there are small ways you can change up your usual day by trying something new and notice what you discover along the way.

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