A Much Needed Vacation (part 2)

Santa Monica Beach

It was a little over a week ago, yet already seems like forever, our little family of 3 (soon to be 4!) spent two days in Venice Beach recuperating from 4 exhausting days at Disneyland. Every trip to Disneyland we usually follow with a few days in San Diego. I lived in San Diego for so long it’s usually my excuse to pretend I live there again for a couple days. This year we decided to mix things up, head somewhere new but still local, plus I had never been to Santa Monica or Venice Beach so it was the perfect time to make an adventure out of it.

Sidecar Donuts

Being connected with like-minded creative folks through Instagram, I’ve accumulated a hefty list of places I’d like to eat, shop, visit, sleep, etc. Sidecar doughnuts was on top of the list! My best friend lives just blocks from the Costa Mesa location. It was great playing catch up while stuffing my face with the butter & salt doughnut.

Indigo macrame ceiling at The Butcher's Daughter

The Butcher’s Daughter was another one of these ‘must visit’ places. I love how they dub themselves a “vegetarian slaughterhouse”, my husband was surprised that literally everything, even the sausage pizza, was vegetarian. He ordered the breakfast burrito and it was SO GOOD. Zano ate the avocado toast. OK, I’m hungry now.

venice beach CA

We spent the second day exploring Santa Monica and the rest of Venice. I had never been to the Santa Monica pier, it’s exactly what you think it is 🙂 We walked the promenade, shopped a little, came back and walked Abbott Kinney. We shopped at Urbanic, then my husband ordered 3 pairs of glasses at Warby Parker (honestly it’s so much easier to try them all on in the store vs. mail order). After, we walked the Venice canals, which were so fun to explore. We played the game “which house would you move into?” We walked a total of 10 miles that day! Needless to say, we definitely made room for a big dinner.

The Tasting Kitchen Venice

We ate at The Tasting Kitchen for dinner with one of our good friends and man, this place! It has to be one of the nicest dinners we’ve had in a long time! What was so amazing about this dinner is, after a long weekend of making decisions after decisions, this spot specializes in making them for you! We chose the 3-course meal (which was a lot of food!) and the chef decided what he wanted to serve us family style. We literally just sat there, talked, enjoyed each-others company, and received delicious surprise after surprise.

We had a really great time together, exploring a new place without having to travel too far. Our hotel was central to everything, which made it super easy to enjoy the neighborhoods without having to fight to find parking.

It’s been a week and I already need another vacation!

XO, Britt

A Much Needed Vacation (part 1)

Disneyland Starbucks wall garden

My husband, Antonio, is 5 months away from completing his MBA program. His last class is actually 2 weeks after our baby is due – talk about good timing! We (I should say he) basically hasn’t had a weekend off in 13 months. That’s 13 months of homework, weekend classes, night classes, no vacations, no video games, no lounging around on the weekends, basically, no fun at all. After 13 months his program finally offered a “summer break”, which I say in quotations because it was essentially only two weeks without class. Not completely a break but, after realizing we hadn’t really gone away for the weekend or taken a vacation in over a year, we decided to make something happen. Antonio really wanted to take Zano to Disneyland, while my idea of a vacation was to relax at the beach. We compromised and planned a full week away with the first half at Disneyland and the second half recuperating at the beach.

California Adventures Park

My husband and his family are, in my  book, die-hard Disneyland goers. I know there are fanatics out there which are on a whole different level, but his family “vacations” to Disneyland which isn’t exactly my idea of a vacation. Disneyland just sounds like a whole lotta work to me. I’ve grown to appreciate it more every time we go, we really do create some fun memories. And nothing beats bringing your 2 year old to the park for his first time. My goodness, Zano was in shock! He got to meet his favorite characters: Mater & Lightening McQueen.

Zano meets Lightening McQueen

Zano meets Mater

Zano rode so many rides, more than I would have thought a 2 year old could! It was blistering hot and sooo crowded, so we spent a lot of time popping in and out of air conditioned shops and restaurants to keep us sane.

Its a Small World Ride at Disneyland

An all time family fave is It’s a Small World, there’s just something so joyful about this ride. Zano loved it too, I think we took him 3 times!

Cactus at Disneyland

My favorite part of exploring the parks is checking out all the design details, from the plants they chose for each area to the wall treatments on the buildings. Even Starbucks had a hidden garden wall (first photo in the post) that, unless you were paying attention, you could easily miss. Good design is everywhere, even at Disneyland.

Diamond wall shingles at Disneyland

We’ve gone to Disneyland so often we’ve come to know the best places to eat around the entire park, and actually plan our day around it! Here are our favorites:

  1. the Cobb Salad at the pink restaurant, just at the end of Main Street before turning right to Tomorrow Land (the Fried Chicken is pretty killer too). Perfect first lunch, we always hit this place up first for a meal!
  2. the Sun-dried Tomato Pasta from the Italian kitchen behind the Mickey ferris wheel at California Adventures, perfect for dinner
  3. the Mediterranean food (any of it!) right next to the Italian kitchen, I love the greek salad for lunch
  4. Chicken Skewers from the hut across from Indiana Jones, the different sauces are out of this world, a great protein snack when you’re not quite ready for a full meal
  5. Pineapple Whip from the dole stand in front of the Tiki Room. The line is always obscenely long, go into the Tiki Room waiting area and order from there, there’s usually little to no wait
  6. Breakfast Burritos at the cafe in Tomorrow Land. We grab one of these on the day we use our Magic Morning pass
  7. Beer at Flo’s Cafe (this is my husband’s favorite spot for beer)
  8. the Banana Hefeweizen at the beer stand directly across (left) from the chowder cafe in California Adventures (my husband’s second favorite spot for beer)
  9. Outside of the park: we love the Ya Ya Gumbo and the Beignets from the New Orleans restaurant in Downtown Disney, as well as the Italian pizza from Italian restaurant

Now that I’ve made myself hungry.. consider these spots next time you visit Disneyland!

XO, Britt

Weekend with the Besties

Hey everyone! I'm still here, running around like a crazy person trying to finish up all that I have planned for Christmas… which is in 6 days! Eek! And amongst all the hustle and bustle, I'm spending the weekend in SoCal with my best friend Allison from Life of a Real Orange County Housewife.  Check out her blog if you get a chance! Allison writes about family, food, fashion, home style, decorating, DIY projects, and what it's like being a real Orange County Housewife.

 

WBS_(61_of_67)

We're celebrating her daughter's one year birthday, catching up on life, and checking off the last few items on our Christmas shopping lists.  I am so happy that I could come down and celebrate such a special moment with my close friends and their families.  It truly puts me in the spirit of Christmas, sharing gifts and making memories with the people you care about most.  This trip is extra special to me because I'm unable to see my close friends as frequently as I'd like, each of our lives have taken us all over California, and our busy schedules make it difficult.

The party was a huge success.  Here are a few of the highlights…

 

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Lake Shasta Shenanigans

I'm back! I'm happy to finally get time to share with you our little vacation to Lake Shasta.

First of all, I made sure to pack my Nikon and document the entire vacation.  I set a goal to take some sunrise and sunset photos.  I failed in waking up in time for the sunrise shots, but I did manage to get a few really great sunset pics.  I think they came out well, don't you?  I thought the color palette on both of these sunsets was so captivating.  I spent some time thinking 'how could match color swatches to these photos?' When in doubt, Google it!  I stumbled on this neat palette generator from this site, CSS Drive, where you can upload any image and it will generate simple, medium or complex color palettes based on your image.  It also allows you to export the palette as a CSS stylesheet.  Pretty genius right?

I just LOVE the warm hints of yellow, taupe, green, and blue from this sunset. I want to snuggle in the greenish color that sits between the blue sky and the yellow sunlight.

DSC_0595 Palette2

I snapped this shot as the last bit of light left the sky.  CSS Drive spit out a few palettes with different intensities, I selected the lighter palette because I can't get enough of these blue and gray hues in this image. 

 

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