Palm Springs

The day after Thanksgiving I flew to L.A. to meet up with Megan and enjoy a little bit of sun in Palm Springs. Neither of us had been there before and were very excited to check it out. We had beautiful weather, low 80’s all three days, and mostly spent time relaxing by the pool and exploring the food scene.

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View from our room at the Saguaro

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I was very impressed with the Saguaro and would definitely stay there again

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We were in the orange and lime green room, and I was surprised to see my bikini matched the bathroom door

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Ready for night number one on the town, where we tried champagne from a can

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Fun day in the sun

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Pretty colors that can’t even be ruined by a recycling bin

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Night two, aka the night I learned how awkward sitting pics can be

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Crazy, impromptu night out back in Downtown LA. We stayed out karaoke-ing until 2am. It was awesome.

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Santa Barbara

In early July I made a trip back to Southern California to visit my friend Megan. When I go to LA I usually rent my own car and hop between friends and cities, but this time I went specifically to visit Megan and make a trip up to Santa Barbara. We went on a trip up there together back in 2010 when I still lived in LA, and decided it would be a perfect place for us to get away to for a couple of nights. We did a lot of things, exploring town, going out at night, hitting the beach, and the highlight, wine tasting. On our last trip we visited a few tasting rooms in town, but this time we did a day-long vineyard trip, which was a lot of fun.

Wine Trail

Itinerary

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Wine Tasting

Us

Lunch

Rancho Sisquoc

Wine tasting with a group of strangers is always interesting. The first stop is usually semi-awkward, since everyone is sober and a lot of times you’re the first group there, so it’s pretty quiet. This group was no exception. But as the day wore on, we all had a lot of fun together. We had a wine geek on the trip, who proceeded to annoy everyone in the group on the first few stops with his intense swirling and spitting and asking a million questions about each wine. But by lunch time, we were all pretty chatty and this guy even bought two bottles for us to share at lunch, which was a really nice gesture. The lunch was catered and set up beautifully (under the umbrella, above) with linen napkins, real silverware and bottles of water. I would definitely recommend Grapeline for a wine tour.

After returning to LA, we met up with a bunch of our sorority sisters for dinner at a restaurant in downtown LA. I love seeing these girls and am excited for my next trip back, in just a few short weeks.

Are You Still There?

I am! And amazingly, so are many of you! I have been surprised the past few weeks to find people still checking in, despite my glaring absenteeism. This post is a bit of a brain (and camera) dump, but there will be some new posts this week!

Was sad to say goodbye to summer white on Labor Day

Quick LA trip had to include some walk and beach time at Manhattan Beach

And of course had to grab some In N Out

This dog… no words

Getting really into football this season! #blueandorange

What have you been up to?

When You’re In… Wednesday’s

Santa Monica.

When you’re in Santa Monica, CA, and looking for a place to grab a drink with views of the Pacific, head to the Casa del Mar hotel. It’s not nearly as well known as Shutters, which is next door, but the lobby and bar area is a lot more elegant and the drinks are delicious.

 

Los Angeles Day Trip: San Juan Capistrano

During a visit from my parents in the fall of 2009, we took a day trip down to San Juan Capistrano. My dad is a train enthusiast, so we skipped the 405 and instead took the Amtrak Surfliner. We went for the “Business Class” car, and it was definitely worth it. On the way down, we enjoyed baked goods and juice, and on the way back, wine, crackers and mini bottles of wine. I’ve always been a big fan of train travel, and our means of transportation definitely helped make this day trip even better.

Union Station

Once we arrived in San Juan Capistrano, we went straight to the Mission. It was walking distance from the train station, and along the way was the quaint downtown with shops, restaurants and even a wine tasting room. The Mission itself was beautiful. At the admission center they gave us headsets so that we could listen to details about what we were looking at.

There were extensive gardens and grounds, and I think that was my favorite part. They were setting up for a private party (what an awesome place to have a wedding!), so my pictures were a bit obscured. It was nice to learn a little bit more about California history, and I’d like to visit more missions in the future.

Updating Traditions

Every year during Christmas time, Luke and I would drive down to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and spend a day Christmas shopping. We would shop for our families and friends, as well as pick out gifts for each other. It became a fun tradition, and was nice because as I so cornily say, it’s about the memories, not just the gifts. Amid our crazy day of shopping, we would also visit Lawry’s Carvery for a decadent lunch with wine.

Now that we live in Denver, it’s time to make a new, similar tradition. So today, after brunch at my parents’ home, we’re driving down to Cherry Creek Mall to select our gifts for each other and finish our shopping and have a delicious late lunch at the Cherry Creek Grill (where I will still be able to get my traditional Christmas shopping lunch, a Prime Rib Sandwich). Now if only I could decide what I want this year…

Luke enjoying the wine and waiting for our lunch

Who Says You Can’t Go Back?

I was a little apprehensive about returning to LA this past weekend for my first “real” visit since moving away in March. Real is in quotation marks because I did make a quick, 24 hour trip back with my mom in May, but it was so short that we were rushing around the whole time. I didn’t quite know what to expect with this visit, because I had 3 full days and a lot of time on my own between meeting up with friends, and I was afraid I would be nostalgic.

I’ve always been a person who wants to linger in life’s stages. When I graduated from high school, I was more sad about leaving that time of my life behind than I was excited for college. The same can be said for every other milestone I’ve experienced thus far. While I know that leaving LA and starting “the rest of my life” in Denver was the right choice, and I’m very happy with the way things are now, the whole move was so last-minute and rushed and has brought about a mix of emotions.

So, touching down in LA, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But, what happened was a wonderful weekend where I got to see lots of friends (more than I had even planned on!) and some solo time where I was able to drive by my old apartment, go to my favorite beach and grocery shop at my old Ralph’s. It’s hard to leave periods of your life behind, but being able to go back and relive them makes it all that much sweeter!

Playa del Rey

Great friends

Visited Susie Cakes and Sprinkles for hostess gifts for my awesome friends