by LYDIA COBB | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Discovering Joy


Most summers, the Aguilo family takes a long trip. Last year they drove cross-country from San Diego to Charleston, SC and back, adding to their blog about their discoveries ( “We love travel, nature, food, and adventure,” said Monica Aguilo. “We travel in a trailer and try to hit up as many national parks as possible on our routes.”

Monica and Rafael met in a sparkly setting. “We met in Vegas, baby!” said Monica. They later married, and have two young sons, Rafaelito and Marco. Carlsbad has been home for eight years and they are drawn to the coast. Rafael surfs. Monica runs or chills on the beach and the boys play in the sand and waves. Rafaelito is six. “He loves his kindergarten teacher at Magnolia Elementary,” said Monica. Rafaelito also takes karate at Goju Karate Center in the village and played his first season with Carlsbad Galaxy Soccer – a good season, according to mom. Little brother Marco is three and in preschool. Monica mentioned, “He is fascinated by dinosaurs and sharks.”


Name: Rafael and Monica Aguilo
Children: Rafaelito (6) and Marco (3)
Community: Carlsbad
Hometowns: Monica – Austin, TX; Rafael – Poway
Occupations: Monica – branding consultant, Rafael – filmmaker (
Pet: Swimmer (fish)
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: Terramar and Tamarack State beaches, Café Topes, Pizza Port, Hidden Canyon and Alga Norte community parks, Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park


Rafael’s career is in filmmaking. He was born in Torrance and grew up in Poway, later attending UCLA. He holds a master’s in producing from the American Film Institute. Rafael’s parents, who also live in Carlsbad, immigrated from Mexico and Argentina more than 45 years ago. Monica was born in Mexico City and moved to Texas with her family when she was little. She attended UT Austin and later received her MBA from UC Berkeley. Her career is in branding and innovation consulting. With their talents, the Aguilos formed a branding company named Propeller. “We enjoy building brands and creating high-end engaging content,” added Monica. “We have come together in the last few years, reaching out to local clients to provide them with boutique-style services that are specifically tailored to their marketing needs.” Monica is also a mentor and related her passion for helping first-generation college students achieve higher education.


“Life should feel like an adventure,” she reflected on their family philosophy. “Travel is enriching and our connections with people are ultimately the most important part of life.” She emphasized how lucky they feel to have amazing friends and neighbors here; that it’s an adventure to enjoy life and family that is part of the Carlsbad community.