A little Danish town down south

We had a double whammy of weekends away this month from Mexico to a mini family vacation just north of Santa Barbara. A few weekends ago, Mike and I met my grandparents, my mom and my stepdad down in Solvang, CA.

Mike and I arrived at the airbnb we were staying at shortly after my grandparents had. We took a quick tour of the house and were pleasantly surprised with the digs.

img_0233

When I booked our accommodations a few months ago when I had read reviews about chickens living on the property and the fresh eggs that were supplied from them. I couldn’t wait to try organic, free range (backyard?) eggs AND meet the chickens who produced them.

Sure enough, there were about 2 dozen fresh eggs waiting for us in the refrigerator; plus, organic milk, almond creamer, bagels, cream cheese, orange juice, and organic coffee. 10/10 would recommend.

img_0231
img_0235
img_0234

Since my mom and Andy were still a few hours away and the four of us were hungry, we decided to check out the Firestone Walker Brewery. Mike and I love trying news beers and this place did not disappoint! I ordered the Easy Jack IPA (yum, yum IPAs!) and Mike got a seasonal sour. For food, my grandma and I spilt the ribs with mashed potatoes and veggies and a small plate of mac n’ cheese. Mike ordered the flank steak and my grandpa got a burger with fries. The meal was decadent and delicious.

After dinner we stopped at a local store for a sweet treat. Armed with 3 different cookies, we headed back to the house and waited for my mom and Andy. My grandpa and Mike are both engineers and get along well. It is always nice for me to sit around with my family and Mike and simply just chat. Some of my best adult memories so far are having my grandparents over for the weekend and spending lazy mornings around my kitchen table, drinking coffee (for me and my grandpa) and tea (for Mike and my grandma) while talking politics (luckily we all generally agree with each other!).

Shortly after my mom and Andy arrived we all went to bed, full from cookies and conversation.


Between cups of coffee and getting ready on Saturday, my grandma and I went outside to meet the chickens on the property. Then it was time for FRESH eggs, y’all (one complete with a little feather still left on the shell).

img_0253

After breakfast, we drove into downtown Solvang. It was already HOT so we were glad to get there early and score pretty good parking. Solvang is a cute little Danish town that – in Mike’s words – resembles the ride It’s a Small World at Disneyland. We popped into a nature museum (random) to start the day. The things you do to beat the heat, ok!

After the museum, my mom was hungry but – having had a later breakfast – Mike and I were no where near ready for lunch. So, instead, while everyone got a bite to eat, we went exploring. A few streets away we found Copenhagen Sausage Garden and spilt a grapefruit beer and a few sweets while sitting outside on the patio. This beer tasted more like juice than a brew and was perfect for a before-noon drink. Also have I mentioned it was hot out?

img_0261

We met back with my family to go on a trolly tour of Solvang next. Interesting tidbit was the history we learned behind the saying it’s “raining cats and dogs.” Which came from roofs being made of grass and when it rained, outdoor pets will climb to the top of these roofs and start digging and digging to get inside where it is dry. If they were successful in digging, it would be “raining cats and dogs.” Bam!

img_0259

After the tour, Mike and I were ready for lunch. We went back to the sausage garden and spilt a grilled p√łlse (a red sausage that I def had to google) and the charcuterie board. So much meat for this veg loving girl!

Next, my grandma, mom, and I hit up a few thrift stores, which is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do(!), while the guys went to check out a motorcycle museum. We were all pretty tired after so went back to the house for some quick power naps before dinner.

We were celebrating my grandpa’s birthday so dinner was at an Italian restaurant nearby our airbnb called Trattoria Grappolo. We sat outside and enjoyed one of those perfect evenings when the breeze finally kicks in and you get a bit of a reprieve after a scorcher of a day.

The rest of our night was mellow back at the house, turning in again for another early bedtime.


On Sunday morning, Beverly (our airbnb host), taught us all about the chickens on the property. We were able to feed and massage them too. (Who knew chickens love a good back rub?) After our lesson, we packed up and headed to OstrichLand.

img_0255
img_0251

OstrichLand has both ostriches and emus. You are given a bowl of food to feed the birds, that is glued to a metal dustpan so you can extend your through the fence. The ostriches are way more aggressive when eating than I thought so I stuck to feeding the smaller emus. We were only here for about 20 minutes but I recommend going. It’s cheap and cool to see those massive birds up close.

img_0258

Next we went to Anderson’s Spilt Pea for lunch. Mike and I weren’t hungry this early again so we sat and enjoyed the company instead. (Though I did snag a bowl of Anderson’s famous spilt pea soup!) After lunch it was time to say goodbye and get on the road. ūüė¶

Since Mike and I hadn’t eaten lunch we decided to stop at the other Firestone Walker Brewing Co location in Paso Robles (different location, more north). I ordered the Pivo (and liked it so much we bought a 6 pack to take home) and we spilt a chicken burger and the mac n cheese (again).

The weekend was a huge success with a great place to stay, some of my favorite company, and really good noshes. What else could a girl ask for?

Stay tuned and eat your greens!


** Note this blog went through a rebrand and is now veg vibes; which aligns better with the direction I organically gravitated towards. It’s all about your vibe **

Viva Mexico!

For the past 3 years Mike and I have celebrated 4th of July with our friends Gary and April, who moved away from us to Los Angeles. ūüė≠

This year, we flew past LA and headed a little more south to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico!

The only bummer about our trip was that I still had to wear bandages on my chin from having stitches removed last week. Before we left I was feeling pretty sorry for myself because I was going on vacation with these ugly, blood soaked bandages on my face (that I couldn’t get wet!) but I mostly got over it before we left and just accepted it.

Mike and I left from SFO early Saturday morning and arrived in Mexico late that afternoon, with the flight being just under 4 hours. Right when we stepped outside of the airport, the humidity hit me (and I slightly regretted not taking the free margarita¬†that was offered as we made our way through customs). Luckily the car wasn’t too far and there were ice cold Coronas waiting for us to slurp down as we drove around the bay to¬†Punta Mita; the luxurious property that we stayed at for the weekend. …Now feels like a good time to mention this is not how Mike and I typically vacation! Gary had an great hookup from a friend and we would have never stayed somewhere so amazing without it.

IMG_20160702_152953
Coronas in a cooler for our drive to Punta Minta
IMG_2472
Tester picture to see how bad my bandages looked… they were hidden the rest of the trip

I loved the ~45 minute drive to the property. Everything in Puerta Vallarta was colorful and beautiful. Most of the buildings had art painted on the walls and, as we moved our way out of the city, the land was green and endless. Plus there is just something exciting about being somewhere completely new.

The anticipation of a great vacation set in when we drove through the gates at Punta Mita. Holy gorgeous! The house we were staying at was a beautiful 3 bedroom place that included our own private infinite¬†pool in the backyard, a hot tub on the upstairs patio, an outdoors shower connected to mine and Mike’s room, and a golf cart for us to get around in. YES PLEASE SIGN ME UP!

IMG_20160702_225939
Our room!
IMG_20160702_164655
Getting ready to explore

After we toured the house and unpacked, we headed to the small downtown area for dinner. We went to a restaurant called S√≠ Se√Īor, which was located right on the beach. We appropriately started the night with a round of margaritas and toasted to our vacation with good friends in a beautiful place!

For dinner I ordered the verde chicken enchiladas that came with a side of refried beans. I also tried the grilled octopus Gary ordered as an appetizer. We ended the meal with tiny scoops of guava sorbet that was as delicious as it was refreshing.

IMG_20160702_182920
Dinner with a view on our first night
IMG_20160702_182637
Guava sobert in a cute turtle bowl as dessert

After dinner we headed back to the house and spent the rest of the night in the backyard pool, drinking beers and catching up. Overall it was a relaxing first few hours in Mexico, just the way I like my vacations.

The next day we slept in and had a lazy breakfast at the house. Around 11am we took the golf cart to one of the beach clubs on the property. I was amazed by how luxurious this place was! There was a huge infinite pool with lounge chairs sprawled along the edges. And just down a few more steps there were more lounge chairs on the sand, right along the shore. Since we were one of the first groups to arrive, we scored plush chairs with mattresses on them and two umbrellas to keep us shaded throughout the day.

We alternated between dipping ourselves in the pool and our toes in the waves (or, my toes at least… Mike, Gary, and April were able to go in and get their faces wet). We ordered drinks and drank tons of bottled water. We applied layer after layer of sunscreen and still managed to get burnt. We ate chips and guacamole poolside and then, later, burgers and onion rings and seafood and salad at the beach club restaurant. We were there for the majority of the day; soaking in the sun, the booze, the atmosphere, and each other’s company.

Around 5pm we headed back to the house and went straight into our backyard pool again! A little while later, April made cheese quesadillas for dinner. Then, armed with micheladas, we went back outside to stargaze and watch a thunderstorm

IMG_20160703_172648
Strategically placed Modelo…..
13581926_10157062395105414_264031958713104915_o
Bliss…
IMG_20160704_175152
Can you spot the chicken?

On Monday, our final full day in Mexico, we decided to go explore Sayulita, a town about 30 minutes from Punta Minta. Sayulita is a fun, cute beach town and I am so happy we went! The only downside was that we didn’t realize most places only accepted cash, something we didn’t have much of on us. Luckily we found a restaurant that accepted card, where we ate lunch and had a few beers.

After lunch we spent the cash we had on popsicles and walked around town. I wish we stayed longer but it was so hot and humid, we left shortly after lunch.

1260
Group selfie
1261
Love in Sayulita!

After a quick power nap at the house, we headed back to the town nearby for our dinner reservations at Rosa Restaurante Mexicano.  Again, we started our meal with a round of margaritas. We munched on chips and the best salsa made fresh right at our table while we waiting for our food. I ordered roasted shrimp with veggies and sweet potato mash. For dessert we ordered churros and ice cream. Normally a loud and rowdy bunch, we joked that the four of us had never been as quiet as we were licking up every last drop of dessert.

On our way back to the house we decided to take a detour through the golf course. The sun was just setting and it was gorgeous out. Zipping through the grass – and coming up with excuses in case we got caught on the course – was probably one of my favorite memories from this vacation. Particularly because our adventure landed us at a nice restaurant where we decided to stay for a few rounds of drinks.

April and I both ordered the Gin Gin Martini (twice) which was a refreshing blend of ginger and cucumber. We enjoyed our drinks with our toes dipped in the pool. There was also a few fireworks for the 4th of July, that Gary and Mike went and watched while the girls enjoyed catching up more.

We ended the evening splashing around in our backyard pool again. Suffice to say, we fully utilized that pool having spent every night in it. Few things beat a personal pool with a view of the beach!

The next morning, after packing all of our stuff, Mike and I took the golf cart to check out a pier that was nearby the restaurant where we had drinks the night before. We saw giant pelicans at the end of the pier, a ton of little fish that they were likely snacking on, and – on our way back – an iguana on the side of the road.

IMG_2490
IMG_2487
IMG_2488
IMG_2492

Our car picked us up around 1pm to take us to the airport and, having only had a banana and coffee for breakfast, I was starving. Getting through security was a breeze and we were having our last meal in Mexico shortly after arriving at the airport. In an effort to eat some veggies, I ordered 2 slices of vegetarian pizza (definitely not a typical last meal in Mexico). A few hours later we boarded our flight and were on our way back to San Francisco.

Until next time, Mexico!