Up the Coast

A couple weekends ago we traveled north to California’s central coast area. It was a last-minute trip, but I’m glad we did it because it turned into a nice way to celebrate our anniversary. On Saturday we drove up to Half Moon Bay from Santa Cruz, making stops whenever we felt like it. Our first was, of course, a coffeehouse because it is always our mission to find the best iced mochas wherever we are. Caffe Pergolesi was cool because it was an old Victorian house, and it was packed with people hanging out in every room. The vibe was very Santa Cruz.

photo 1-2

Driving up the coast at this time of day was so beautiful because the sun was starting to set. I snapped a photo of this lighthouse, which is a hostel, and the rocky shores before heading to dinner.

DSC_0642 DSC_0670 DSC_0685

Finally we got to the place we’d talked about since planning this trip: Miramar Beach Restaurant. We first ate there a couple years ago and were blown away by the clam chowder. Do you ever consume something, rave about it forever and then fear you actually built it up way too much and it won’t be as good the next time you have it? That was us with their clam chowder–and  we were thankfully just as satisfied our second time having it. We sat in the outdoor area right next to the water with lights and fire pits that multiple parties can gather around. I have a theory that people who live by coasts are the friendliest, and that night was no exception with the people we were around. It was also nice to get some “congratulations” for our first anniversary and hear stories of others’ marriages (one going strong after 49 years!).


The next day my husband went scuba diving and I walked around Monterey’s Cannery Row. I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which was a real treat. I spent about half my time staring at the sea otters (I caught them as they were playing with each other), and the other half being mesmerized by the jellyfish.

DSC_0720 DSC_0741 DSC_0749

DSC_0757 DSC_0875 DSC_0881 DSC_0893 DSC_0912 DSC_0955 DSC_0887 DSC_0855

If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. The location itself serves as a gorgeous backdrop, and they definitely let guests enjoy it with the windows and viewing areas. I hope we get another weekend like that again soon!


Pumpkin Season

On Saturday, my husband and I took my godson and his little brother to Tanaka Farms in Irvine. It was mine and the boys’ first time there, and it was so much fun! First of all, the place itself is beautiful. Maybe it was the time of day or the rows and rows of pumpkins, but the light and colors all came together for a really lovely afternoon.

Continue reading

Weekend Getaway to Big Bear

Last weekend my husband and I celebrated our birthdays by going to Big Bear–a place I’d remarkably never been to, despite how close it is to us. It was exactly what we needed, and a great way to escape the triple-degree temps at home. And, I’m already planning the rustic chic decor in our imaginary lake house.

Big Bear was in full fall mode. The local shops had a seasonal contest going on, so we walked by several adorable displays that made us feel like it was autumn (something we don’t get the pleasure of doing every year in Southern California). We meandered through the streets on the way to the lake, stopping to admire the occasional tree with leaves that had actually changed colors. Oh, and the high altitude made us out of breath, so at least we felt like we were getting a good workout in.

Continue reading

Voila! Penny’s Playground

Joel and I decided that our new kitten needed a place of her own within our apartment to play, but we weren’t thrilled with the boring, beige scratching posts available in stores. Our girl needed something special, so we put our DIY skills to work this weekend to create something we’re pretty happy with. We did our materials shopping at Home Depot (wood, artificial grass, carpet, nails, l-bracket, rope) and Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts (paint, sponges, wooden shapes and cutouts). Then we spent all day Sunday at my parents’ house, and the four of us put it all together in the garage. After several hours of measuring, cutting, paints, stapling, etc., there was a whole lot of smiling. Here’s how we did it.

Continue reading

Better Latte Than Never

Sometimes I feel so lucky to have found someone like my husband. I read this New York Times article that claimed America’s best iced latte came from a small coffee stand in Los Angeles. An iced macadamia almond-milk latte getting rave reviews only a drive away? I informed my husband that we had to try it.

So, this weekend we forged traffic, bypassed the parking lots with flat fees and found a lone metered space a couple blocks away. Then we realized we didn’t have change. We scoured the seats and found a few random coins; enough to afford us 28 minutes. That’s plenty of time for a quick coffee run, we thought. Until we stood in line for 25 minutes to get our order. Iced mochas are actually my drink of choice, so we strategically ordered the one we came for as mine and the tried-and-true for him–just in case. After one sip of mine, I made the switch, and my dear, wonderful husband just shook his head and accepted his new beverage.

It was actually our first time at the Grand Central Market in LA, and it’s a shame that we didn’t have more time to walk around. There were tons of food options and several menus were definitely calling out to us. But, our time was slipping away and we had to get back to our car. We then drove another 25 minutes to scope out the venue of a conference I am going to in a couple weeks. He circled around until he could point out exactly where I would have to go to park, and then we went back home. After we arrived in Orange County, we realized we had just taken a 3.5 hour trip, with a total of 28 minutes not driving–all for an iced latte that I didn’t end up liking. Then we looked at each other and laughed.

He then informed me we will be going to San Diego in a couple weeks for a baseball game.

Lots of Lovely: Flamingos

Maybe it’s because warm weather brings out a playful side in us, but flamingos are definitely having a moment lately. I’m not complaining. They’ve shed their reputation as a tacky lawn ornament and now their unique looks are being embraced. C’mon, I dare you not to smile at the sight of them, with their legs tucked in their bright pink bodies. There’s something beautiful in their oddness, and they bring a bit of whimsy to any outfit or home.



1. Seedpod Flamingo 2. Lele Sadoughi Charm Necklace  3. Piamita Kate Maxi Dress  4. Alice + Olivia Hale Middie Skirt  5. J. Crew Girls’ Sweater  6. Minimum Men’s T-Shirt


Lovely Blooms

My husband and I went took a day trip to Carlsbad to see the famous flower fields. With all the vivacious colors, it’s impossible to be there without feeling cheery and in awe of the beautiful, abundant blooms. When we stood at the top of the hill, we could even see the entire field, plus the ocean in the distance. I think I stopped every five steps to snap a photo. Can you blame me? The day was topped of with some delicious BBQ for lunch and some serious deals scored at the outlet shopping center nearby. Spring is officially here!DSC_0105 DSC_0108 DSC_0111 DSC_0119 DSC_0124 DSC_0130 DSC_0137 DSC_0170

A Warm Winter’s Day

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, so my husband and I decided to take a walk on the beach. Since he is from the Midwest, and often talks about us moving to his hometown, I like to take these moments to ask him what the weather is like there. It helps when we’re driving with the top down in February. These playful back-and-forth sessions are a regular occurrence for us, and I will admit that I am impressed by his unwillingness to ever admit any city is superior to his hometown. Even when he is forced to name stark contrasts that you’d think might change his tune; his overall perspective remains the same. I think his fierce loyalty bodes well for our marriage, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as we can still go to the beach whenever we want.

DSC_0066 DSC_0070 DSC_0071 DSC_0052 DSC_0077