Escape to the Central Coast

Time is whizzing by over here. Mike’s parents came out to California to stay with us for 6 months back in October and we’re suddenly down to the final few weeks. To make up for a canceled trip (omicron) we had planned to San Diego, we recently rented an Airbnb down in San Luis Obispo for an extended weekend. Since we knew we’d be spending a decent amount of time at the house, given traveling with a toddler, we sprung for a place with a hot tub.

When we arrived on Friday evening we happily also discovered an amazing array of different fruit trees, a spacious deck, and gorgeous, minimalist house that had a modern, sleek vibe vs. the outdated, mismatched feeling of other Airbnbs. There was also plenty of space for Cam to run around and push his little baby (soooooo cute) in a toy stroller we have for him.

After settling in and putting Cam down for the night, we cracked open a bottle of wine and jumped into the hot tub. Cheers to the freakin weekend!

On Saturday we woke up early and lounged around, getting FULLY hooked on Love is Blind. Mike turned it on out of pure curiosity and 30 seconds in we were like, no this is gold. It’s so unbelievably outrageous we binged half of season one throughout the weekend, even roping Mike’s parents in on a few episodes (ah, the Barnette/Jessica/Amber triangle!!!). Of course the half of the fun is the commentary we all shamelessly provide while watching these people make one of the biggest decisions of their lives in a mere matter of weeks.

Anyways!

Since days revolve around things like naps and places to play, we didn’t do too much planning for the weekend. There was a park showing up on Google maps that was only a 7 minute walk from where we were staying, and then, past that, after another 7 minute walk, a brewery. Perfect, phase one of the day – pre nap – was planned!

Our 7 minute walk took about 27 minutes because Cam pushed his little stroller the whole way there but this park was pure delight. It was huge, with tons of paths and spaces for us to explore. There were tennis courts, baseball fields, disc golf, a little kid playground, and a big kids play area that had a Zip-line (!) and a fake grass hill, which locals brought cardboard to slide down. Overall, it was a masterpiece.

After playing for an hour or so we walked to a trail that took us to Beat the Drum brewery; another gem! We got there right after opening and, I think, because it was a little windy out, we had the whole patio to ourselves; perfect for Cam to stroll around. Their menu was limited but had a variety of potpies. We ordered beers and warm, comforting chicken and Mac n cheese potpies and enjoyed the afternoon.

Cam took a nice, long 2 hour nap back at the house while we hot tubbed and then napped ourselves. Luxury. We explored downtown a bit in the late afternoon, strolling by the restaurant Mike and I ate at right after we got engaged 4 years ago! Unfortunately it was too chilly to stay for long. That evening we cooked dinner at the house and binged more Love is Blind. A really wild Saturday night. πŸ™‚

Sunday was slightly better weather so we decided to venture down to Avila beach. On our way there, we popped by the iconic Madonna Inn to show Barb & Dan all of the pink madness. Which, Cam was not really a fan of for some reason, so off to the beach shortly after it was. Fun fact: Avila beach has swings and a slide so it great to do with little ones! Cam would have played on the slide all day but we convinced him to come hang out on a picnic blanket with us, where he played with some new dinosaur toys by ducking them in plastic cups of ocean water, saying “WAWA!” “RAWR!”

That afternoon we went back to our magical nearby park and spent at least an hour “racing” down these two side-by-side, long slides. Cam loveeed crawling up the hill and then speeding down them by himself, with one of us at the bottom waiting to catch him. It was so fun and had to count as at least a small work out with all of our laughing and climbing.

That night we stayed in again, cooking dinner at the house and playing games after the babe was asleep. When we originally booked this weekend away, there was a slight sense we were just paying money to do the same thing we do at home somewhere else. Which, to some extent is what we did, but it was really nice to change up the scene and be at a different pace for a while.

Monday was sadly the last day of our little coastal escape. After a morning dip in the hot tub (thanks Nana and Papa for watching Cam!), we packed up and headed to the park for one last play. It was such a great weekend, full of quality time together and a great way to connect before Barb & Dan head back home. We know Cam will miss his Nana and Papa a ton (as will we!) but we are really thankful for the time we’ve been able to spend together and this special trip away together.


Russian River

We recently spent an extended weekend at the Russian River with my family, staying at an airbnb nestled in the trees. Overall the weekend wasn’t the sunshine and river splashes I think we were all expecting, but it was still a nice retreat away from the everyday.

Mike, Cam, and I were the first to arrive and, after unloading our car, we explored the house. There was an eccentric vibe that isn’t my flavor (real question: how many pinecone decorations are too many?) but fine for a getaway. Besides, there was a hot tub and a pretty epic patio that made you feel like you were in a treehouse, so I can’t complain.

…Speaking of said patio. While we were waiting for the rest of the fam to arrive, Mike and I poured 2 glasses of wine and had a dance party outside with Cam. It was so fun and now I am convinced every vacation needs to start with wine and a dance party. Whose with me!?

After everyone arrived and we navigated the bustle of unpacking, we put Cam to sleep. Somehow I remembered to buy another white noise machine (a much cheaper and more low key than the one we have now in Cam’s room) and it was a savior. For $20 we didn’t have to be too psycho about people making noise while hw was sleeping (all parents with young kids know what I am talking about rn).

We decided that although we were on vacation, we wouldn’t be eating out on our trip. I am thankful that everyone in our family who can be vaccinated is – so we can see each other safely to that extent. But because of the variant, it isn’t worth the risk of being seated next to someone who isn’t vaccinated. This meant a huge Costco haul to stock up on nomz and an easy, meaty, cheesy Kirkland lasagna for dinner that first night. Then it was time to hit that hot tub and fully kick into vacation mode.

Before bed we started The Ice Road, Liam Neeson’s new movie on Netflix, which took us 3(!) nights to actually finish (but was so, so worth it).

We woke up the next morning and I was like: coffee please. Despite not eating out, a quick in and out trip at a local coffee shop was something we all felt comfortable with. With one key requirement: masks!

“Vaccines are safe!” “Wear a mask!” I must have lost at least a few folks by now… I’m not trying to be overly political here but obviously feel strongly about people protecting other people from covid. Which brings me to my story that, the first coffee shop that we went to – which was organic and looked AMAZING – had a sign posted saying they believed masks and vaccines are a personal choice. Ummmmmmmmmmm…?

Listen. The vaccine thing? I can see where it is scary. I’m fully vaccinated but I get that it is a bigger deal to some people. WEARING A MASK THOUGH?! C’mon. It is like the simplest thing to ask of each other. Ugh. As you can imagine, we made the personal choice to pass on that coffee shop and “vote with our dollars” at a place that supports safety, science, and public health.

One of the appeals of staying on the Russian River during this crazy time was having a built in outdoor activity in close proximity; the river. Our airbnb offered kayaks, floats, and a wagon to enjoy the beach and water. Leading up to this vacation, I was excited at the prospect of lounging by the river and kayaking down it. Sadly it turned out to be a pretty cold few days up there, so being outside near the water wasn’t too appealing. But, even more of a disappointment was the rocky beach near us. On the house listing there were pictures of this gorgeous sandy beach; a beach perfect for Cam to play in. In reality the beach we had access to was rocky and hilly. Not great for a little one. I contacted our host and she mentioned if we walked out more, the sandy beach typically would have been there but given the drought, the river was damned and that spot unavailable. Waaaaahhh. 😦

Not having access to the beach we thought we would – coupled with colder than expected weather – did make the vacation feel a bit reminiscent of 2020 Shelter in Place days. Although we tried to make the best of it by going for a lot of family walks around the neighborhood, taking full advantage of having grandparents around to watch Cam while Mike and I went hot tubbing, and hanging out on the patio. I was even able to sneak in a yoga session one morning out there on our treehouse patio.

On our last day the weather finally warmed up a bit. We all decided to attempt for an afternoon at the beach, despite the rocky ground. We loaded the wagon with blankets and a mega umbrella. I had the diaper bag and waters and snacks. And we lasted about 15 minutes down there. Ha. Cam wasn’t feeling it at all so my mom and grandma took him back to the house while Mike and I, determined to kayak at least once, hit the river!

While I’m typing this, I realize this was the first activity Mike and I have done alone since Cam was born / the pandemic. (What a doozy of a combo, huh?) It was such a blast being out there together. Particularly this shallow section we paddled through that was close enough to the overgrown trees and plants that we felt like we were on the Jungle Cruise (foreshadow).

We ordered pizza, made a salad, and opened a bottle of wine on our last night there; which is the ultimate vacation bookend if you ask me. After finally finishing The Ice Road, we splurged and “unlocked” Jungle Cruise on Disney Plus. I love love love love Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson – ever since his people elbow days, okayyy? – and Emily Blunt is also just great, so I was really excited about this. (Also, maybe like a lot of people after pausing “normal” life for sometime now, I am craving going to Disneyland again and somehow this filled that void a tiny bit.) Obviously no spoilers but I do recommend!

Our last morning there was a flurry of family photos All Together, packing, and cleaning. I will say the one downside to an airbnb is you often have to do chores at the end of your stay. We all hugged and kissed goodbye and hit the road back home. ❀


PS. If you’re feeling up to it, read about our other family vacations to San Diego and Solvang

Cam’s first Tahoe retreat ;)

We finally did it! We made it to Olympic Valley near North Lake Tahoe with our little guy.

If you know us, you know the resort there is a special place. We had plans to go last year to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary but they were derailed because of covid. Nevertheless, we made it for our 2 year celebration!

This was Cam’s first road trip and we were nervous about how he’d do in the car for 4+ hours. Amazingly he was a champ!! He skipped his morning nap the day we left which ended working in our favor since we fell asleep literally before we turned off of our street and slept for the next 2 hours. Hallelujah.

When he woke up we were already halfway there. We quickly stopped for some iced teas, a bathroom break, and a diaper change and were on the road again.

Pulling up to the resort was such a relief. One, because we made it there in record time and Cam was great the whole way; and, two, because we were finally baaack and it was so good to be there.

The view from our room

By the time we checked in and unpacked, it was close to Cam’s bedtime. We did our normal routine but realized we forgot a book to read to him before going to sleep (!) cue the now-tradition of buying him a new book wherever we go for a vacation. Which I feel like is the best souvenir for a child anyway.

After, Mike and I ordered a to-go pizza, opened a bottle of wine, and …worked! Hah. Not the most romantic start to our vacation but we had to tie up a few things before putting up our OOOs for the following Monday and Tuesday.

The next morning Mike woke up early to hit the pool for some laps. He’s done this in the past, and I would join him at a more reasonable time – coffee in hand and ready to hot tub. Of course now that we have little Camaroni, I was up doing the mom thing instead of sleeping in. πŸ™‚ After feeding Cam breakfast and jamming out to some Pat Benatar on the radio (which, side note, we didn’t even know the rooms came with a radio but Cam INSTANTLY found that remote and loved turning it on throughout our stay), we headed down to the pool to join dada.

Sadly the pool’s heater was broken. Happily Cam is the best baby in the history of the world and was fine hanging out on one of our laps so we could (in shifts) enjoy the hot tub. Which is our main hobby. Ask any of our friends.

After some tubbing, we packed up and excitedly DROVE TO MY GRANDPARENTS HOUSE. They only live 45 minutes from where we were staying and haven’t met Cam yet because of – you guessed it – the pandemic. It was so heartwarming for them to finally see him. And for me to finally see them. The last time I saw them was my baby shower in February 2020, right before we knew how much the world was going to change…

We ordered enchiladas and chatted and watched Cam scoot around and it all felt so normal and wonderful.

Cam and his Great Grandma. Yay!

Back at the resort later that afternoon, a very exciting milestone happened. Cam took his first steps!!! Now he is a walking machine and we keep saying he knew to take those first steps in a special place.

We woke up on Sunday with no set plans, aside from another morning hot tub sesh. Then it was all about finding baby/kid friendly things to do. We spent some time outside on a grassy patch with a bunch of games and ran around with Cam. In the past, this area was largely ignored but now I see us frequenting it.

Giant baby-sized Jenga

We made pitstops for naps back in the room. When it was warm enough, we took Cam to the pool. This mostly consisted of Mike holding Cam so only his toes dipped in and me safely (warmly) staying poolside, sitting on the edge instead of actually going in the water. We also went all out for a wayback playback and had drinks in the lobby! This is something Mike and I used to love doing and, since it was between snow and summer seasons there, everything was relatively calm so we felt comfortable with Cam running amok in the lobby while we sipped.

We did the standard take out thing for dinner that night but also had the absolute pleasure of watching Ellen’s gameshow, Ellen’s Game of Games. I had no idea this existed but what.a.gem.

Monday was our 2 year wedding anniversary (!) and I am already ready to renew our vows as an excuse to have a party with all of our loved ones again.

We celebrated with a bike ride and lunch out, both firsts for us since Cam has been born. We rented bikes and a trailer and hit the path to lunch. When in motion, Cam did great in the trailer. But the second we stopped, he was not happy about it. We are hypothesizing that his helmet was just a little too big for him and might have taken more muscle control than he has yet developed to hold that little head up. (One particular bump all but proved this theory correct when, after hitting it, we checked on Cam and he was leaning completely sideways unable to pull himself back up. So sad but so funny.) Nonetheless we made it to lunch and enjoyed a nice meal on the patio.

We wrapped the afternoon with another trip to the pool and a round of drinks in the lobby. And then it was boxed mac n’ cheese and leftover pizza for dinner. Maybe next year Mike and I will go out for a fancy dinner to celebrate our anniversary but even if we don’t, I don’t think I can ever complain about quality time spent with my guys.

On our last morning we grabbed coffee and bagels and headed down to the lake. One of the benefits of waking up early on baby-time is how empty things are. We had the whole lake to ourselves and leisurely strolled along, talking, what if we move here one day…?

We found a little park and pushed Cam in the swings while looking out at Lake Tahoe. It was the perfect way to end a great family vacation. We can’t wait to go back!


Read about the last time we visited here.

Vancouver

After flying to Toronto for our close friend’s wedding (gorgeous!!) we stopped in Vancouver for a few days on the way home to celebrate my birthday.

We took the train from the airport to the Four Seasons, our blissful home base for 3 days where we treated ourselves to an upgraded full suite room. I’ve heard getting a full suite is a good idea when you have kids, so after they fall asleep you can close the door and enjoy a glass of wine together (or whatever you fancy). Obviously this wasn’t the case for us this trip but, let’s just say we were practicing for when this babe gets here!

We dropped our bags and dashed to happy hour in the lobby, splitting the calamari and a flatbread. I also ordered a cucumber mocktail that was so good I didn’t mind the missing alcohol.

Next we actually hit up the gym…! Usually if we use the gym while away it is in the morning, but when you’re pregnant – and happy hour is over with one good mocktail – it’s not a bad way to spend an hour. Shoutout to the Four Seasons for providing complimentary workout clothes for both of us.

The plan was to originally go Mike & Ashley style and do a food crawl that night, but the time difference caught up with us and we opted for dessert and HGTV back at the hotel before turning in for a early bedtime.


I was still on east coast time on Wednesday and woke up at 6:30am ready to start the day. Bundled up, we walked to Nemesis, Vancouver’s #1 voted coffee shop. I ordered a black tea that had a mild, nutty toasted flavor. It was so good – and usually I don’t have that much to say about a tea’s flavor profile – plus the perfect companion to the chilly walk down to the harbor.

We hopped on an aquabus for a quick jaunt across the harbor to the Granville Public Market. Oh how glorious this place is! We arrived right when it opened at 9am, making our experience a lot more enjoyable as there weren’t huge crowds. There are so many good food stands that we decided to scope the place out before making any purchases. In the end we did a morning/breakfast food crawl sampling a fresh berries; splitting an egg, spinach, and cheese bagel; and then indulging in lattes and donuts from Lee’s.

We explored the island and walked off our hearty breakfast after, being sure to also buy a little onesie for the baby. So fun and cute! Then is was off to the main adventure of the day: the Capilano suspension bridge.

Looking pretty nervous on our first crossing!

This basically is like it sounds, one big suspension bridge over a river that gets you from one side to the other. The set up on either side is pretty cute and made me feel like we were in a little winter wonderland. It wasn’t very crowded when we were there either, and the holiday lights were already up so it felt extra magical.

Once you cross over the main bridge, there are a set of smaller bridges going between various trees. There’s also the cliff walk, which is just a narrow pathway close to a granite slab. If you have a fear of heights, this probably isn’t the place for you!

While there, we had a very romantic lunch in the cozy cafe. We were the only ones in the place so it felt intimate, particularly with the fireplace and twinkle lights.

There is a convenient free shuttle back to the city (and great to rest after so much walking). As an afternoon pick-me-up, we went back to the same dessert place from the night before, called Thierry, for coconut drinking chocolates; basically very rich, thick hot chocolate that became our obsession in Vancouver.

After a lot of walking, foot massages sounded like a great way to end the day. We found a place called Queen’s Feet and for $40 we each got a 50 minute reflexology foot massage. Not bad if you’re okay with a no frills spa experience, which, at that point, we were.

In true Canadian fashion, we wanted poutine for dinner. Opting for a slightly healthier – and likely trendier – version, we went to Meet, a vegetarian place in Yaletown. I ordered a side of guac with it and a sparkling water + splash of grapefruit juice beverage. I’m (obviously) loving places with good non-boozy options.

After our gravy, fries, and cheese curds, we walked back to the hotel for more HGTV and macaroons in bed! (So.much.HGTV. …but also so fancy with those macaroons.)


We kicked off my birthday with croissants and hot chocolates at Thierry (again). I wrapped up my first trimester blog post and hit publish. Then is was time for a quick photoshoot to try to get a cute picture of the bump for our instagram baby announcement (I know, I know, soooo millennial).

Lunch was at Burgoo and it was the coziest soup and sammie spot. We each got grilled cheeses and tomato soup. Major comfort food on a chilly day.

Walking was our main way of getting around, and one of my favorite things about the city. We averaged 15,000 steps every day we were there. After lunch we walked down to the harbor for tea and cake overlooking the water. Pretty romantic!

On a whim, we rented bikes after and toured Stanley Park. Unexpectedly the bikes were electric which was great! It’s fun just to crank up the speed on a hill and fly up it.

Totem poles in the park

Mike made dinner reservations at Hawksworth and I went full American ordering a steak and fries for dinner (both were delicious). For dessert we got candy cap ice cream and learned after that is was actually mushroom ice cream (better than it sounds).

We ended the night back at the hotel with, you guessed it, more HGTV. πŸ™‚


We walked to breakfast the next morning and then got one last fix of liquid chocolate at Thierry.

In summary: walking, cozy meals, and gallons of chocolate pretty much summed up the trip. Cheerrrrs!

Honeymoon: St Barts!

When we booked our honeymoon, St Barts was the destination in my mind. Disney World and Saint Martin were great, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t wait to get on the island that is littered with celebrities and take in all of the pure luxury it had to offer.

When we stepped off of the ferry we took between the two islands, the difference between Saint Martin and St. Barts was obvious. Instead of having to rent a car like we did in Saint Martin, our hotel had already arranged transport for us. A shiny white van was waiting to swoop us up when we got there. This wasn’t your standard carpool minivan either; it was all tan seats, A/C blasting, and a cooler of Evian water sitting there, perspiring, waiting for us to crack a bottle open. It was let us help you with your bags and is it too cool in here? Too hot?

Honestly it was so nice (and yes, I realize I am still talking about a minivan), looking back, I’m shocked they didn’t have something more outrageous for us; like flavored oxygen tanks to make breathing more pleasurable. (which… if they did, I would have opted for pineapple flavor, obviously).

We arrived at Hotel Christopher after a fairytale-esque drive across the island, with everything all bright and pristine and smaller than what we’re used to in the states. Naturally the staff greeted us with welcome cocktails and directed us towards a changing room, where we got in our bathing suits to enjoy the pool while we waited for our room to be ready.

We dipped in and out of the pool, alternating between reading, chatting, and huge iguana sightings. At some point we spilt a dΓ©licieuse lunch of freshly baked bread, creamy burrata, truffle ham, kalamata tapenade, and artichoke hearts. Drooooool worthy.

Eventually, we were “Sir’d” and “Madam’d” to our room, where we read some more and dozed off on our patio. When we woke up (slightly burnt from sleeping in the late afternoon sun) I was ready to explore the island!! We felt a tinge of cabin fever from being at the hotel for so long and wanted to go into town for dinner. Unfortunately, the location of our hotel didn’t allow for easy walking; something we didn’t even think to check when we booked. Our options were to take a €30 cab into town or to eat at the hotel restaurant, which admittedly looked really nice in it’s own right. We decided to stay and enjoyed burgers and peach cocktails by the sea. Not a bad plan B!

The next morning started with a hunt for chocolate croissants and coffee! Part of the reason we picked St. Barts for our honeymoon was to experience the laid back island vibe with a bit of European flare. In other words, I was really looking forward to the cafe scene!

Sadly the chocolate croissants were sold out by the time we picked a place… wah, wah, waah. 😦

Instead we ordered iced cappuccinos and grilled ham & cheeses (because why not?) and spent the afternoon exploring different beaches around the island. Highlights included: baby goats we spotted; our picnic lunch; and the incredible clear, blue, and warm ocean – which was perfect for hours of swimming and long walks on the beach. πŸ™‚

It was a blissful day that we ended with a trip to a local store for breakfast the next morning (having learned not to rely on the cafes after all) and getting a pizza to go for dinner. It was so simple but sharing a bottle of wine and pizza back at the hotel was one of my favorite moments.

The loot

On our final full day there, Mike wanted to go surfing. We packed up the rental car with hotel-provided beach towels and an umbrella (luxury!) and set off to find a broad to rent. We ended up at St. Jeans for the entire day. Mike was able to surf while I lounged on the beach; reading, snacking, and WATCHING PLANES TAKE OFF AND LAND.

As the afternoon was winding down, we went for one last swim to a platform you could sit on in the middle of the deeper part of the sea. We ended up meeting another vacationing couple. After chatting for a while, we exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up for a drink later.

Delighted and drowsy from a day in the sun, we went back to the hotel to shower and change for our last dinner there.

Word to the wise, if you find yourself in St. Barts and you want to go out for dinner, MAKE RESERVATIONS! Many of the restaurants base their food ordering for the day based on the number of reservations they have that night. So despite a place not looking crowded, they might literally not have food for you to eat there. We experienced this at 2 restaurants we attempted to eat at, which was frustrating but we finally hit the jackpot with a canceled reso at Bonito.

Bonito is an open restaurant up on a hill that overlooked the harbor. The food was very French (read: very good, very small portions, and very expensive). It was a lovely last mea. The fancy atmosphere fitting the occasion.

After dinner we met our new friends for a beer and, of course, instagram handle exchanges to stay in touch (hiii, Jenna!;).

We had an early departure the next morning back to St. Martin for our last night before flying home. Overall St. Barts was as exquisite as you can imagine. I’m glad we went there for our honeymoon – a trip of a lifetime – and indulged in all the island has to offer.

Mike on our last night in Saint Martin, with a parrot he walked right past a few times before noticing

Honeymoon: Saint Martin!

We left Orlando ready for some r&r and island time. After an early flight we arrived on the island of Saint Martin, which is both a French and Dutch territory. To kick off our stay, we decided to spend 2 nights on the French side, then would ferry over to the island of St. Barts before coming back and spending our final night on the Dutch side.

There are very few places you can actually walk to on both Saint Martin and St. Barts so renting a car was key. And it’s a good thing Mike drives a stick and we live close to San Francisco, because manual was our only option and Saint Martin is hilly! I would be lost without him. πŸ˜‰

We arrived at Grande Case Beach Club and treated ourselves to a welcome cocktail, plus a shared order of calamari and a Caesar salad. The patio overlooked the ocean, where the water was such a clear, pretty blue. I couldn’t wait to hop in!

Our room had fresh flowers scattered around, a bottle of wine to enjoy later, and a patio that opened up to a private beach for hotel guests. It was all very romantic and perfect for a honeymoon. Without question the first thing we did was take a dip in the ocean.

We were ready for dinner shortly after our swim and sauntered back to the hotel restaurant. Yum! It was one of the best meals we had there! Even more impressive was that it was cooked entirely in a small camper because the hotel kitchen was still under construction from hurricane Irma damages. This – among other things like chipped concrete and a few patches of dried out vegetation – were signs that the island was still recovering.

Mike’s whole fish he ordered (that they nicely deboned for him table-side)
The camper kitchen

We walked to the down town area after dinner for a drink at the Blue Martini. (At the time, I didn’t realize that is was rare to be able to walk anywhere on Saint Martin – or St. Barts – so we took this walk for granted.) The Blue Martini was a quintessential island bar; outdoors, not too fancy with good spirited bar tenders and live music.

Another glorious thing I took for granted when we were at Grand Case was the free breakfast the hotel provided in the morning (foreshadowing that this was not so on the next island we went to… $$$). We enjoyed coffee/tea, croissants, and fresh fruit seaside before packing our stuff and heading out to explore.

Our adventure of choice that day was jet skiing. Equal parts fun and anxiety-filled for me. One hundred percent thrill for Mike (when he was able to go fast without me jamming my fingernails into his ribs hahaha). Once our hour on the jet ski was up, we bobbed around in the warm ocean water for a bit, which was quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to spend our days.

This might be weird coming from anyone else but I’m sure it’s “on brand” for me… one of my favorite things to do when traveling is going to the local grocery store. I knew I wanted to hit up a few on the island, with all of that French influence. Hiii, all of the cheese and nom fresh ingredients!

You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the Cali (avos!) out of the girl…

We bought a small sampler of different cheeses, some grapes, and nuts before promptly going back to our hotel, opening a bottle of wine to pair with our local goods and sitting right by another beach to enjoy the waves again. Ahhh, bliss.

The view of our private beach

For dinner we wondered over to a gorgeous French restaurant downtown and enjoyed freshly baked bread, more wine, local fish, and seasonal vegetables. For such a gorgeous place, I was surprised it wasn’t packed. We chatted a bit with the owners who mentioned they were just starting to make their slow recovery from the destruction of the hurricane.

It was a small drop in their economy but I’m glad we spent our money there. Plus, we learned about the best spot to go to next: the rum bar right next door.

Looking back this was one of our favorite experiences of our honeymoon. When we first arrived we were the only ones there, which meant all of the owners attention. We learned about rum made from molasses vs. sugarcane and all of the different places it came from. Then we got real creative and asked if we go off-menu, ordering a sampler instead of one drink each. He agreed. We gave him creative liberty to pour us his choices. We learned how to properly drink rum.

Smell. Swirl. Sip. Savor. Swallow.

Pour more. Repeat.

Eventually more people wandered into the bar, which oddly worked in our favor since the owner started pouring slightly larger pours to keep us occupied a little longer while he tended to the others.

We walked back after our rum flight happy and content, crossing paths with a little black cat that I loved and wanted to take home. Not one for the superstition of bad luck, I fell asleep without a care that night; looking forward to the next day and our final stop on our honeymoon, St. Barts!

BUT HOW CUTE!!?!?!?

Honeymoon: Disney World!

We decided to go on our honeymoon right after the wedding, to ride the blissed out wave as long as possible, and I am so happy we did. Our first stop was Disney World! We stayed at the Port of New Orleans – French Quarter that had the magic of a Disney hotel but was relatively affordable.

We were able to bypass checkin and go straight to our room (Disney magic, friends!) via our wristbands we got in the mail before our stay. After flying Southwest, where no food was available for purchase, we were starving and needed dinner. The New Orleans cuisine offered at our hotel hit the spot.

After dinner, we grabbed a cocktail and hit up the hot tub: fully in honeymoon mode now.

The next day we blew through our plan to wake up early and slept straight through our alarms. (Maybe we were still recovering from all of the wedding festivities?!) Mike’s style is to go to theme parks from opening to closing, so it was a bit stressful that we’d already missed an hour at his favorite place, Typhoon Lagoon. Still slightly disoriented from our late start, I downed a cup of hotel coffee in the Lyft to the waterpark and slathered on sunscreen, ready for a morning of wave pools and water slides.

Next on the agenda was Epcot.

Side note: My friend Lauren gave us a ton of good information about Disney World – like making dinner reservations 90 days out and when to get our fastpasses – so a special shout out to her before I dive into our Epcot experience (her and her husband’s favorite park).

First up was the new Frozen ride, which I am glad we had a Fastpass for. The ride was cute but not worth the 2 hour lineup for it. I’m also stating to wonder… how many slow-moving boat rides can Disney make?!

Having not really eaten breakfast, we were ready for lunch quickly after. We went for tacos + margs in “Mexico” and it was really nice to just sit for a bit. Plus the water views and breeze in that hot FL sun didn’t hurt.

We walked around and went a few rides after, but were really just killing time before our next meal. πŸ™‚

Dinner was at Le Cellier, the Canadian steakhouse. People raved about this place and, being that I married a Canadian, we had to go. Sadly we were both disappointed with the food. The experience was nice; it was cool to go to a fancier sit-down restaurant in Disney World and our server was kind (obviouslyyyy being from Canada and all), but we were more impressed with the bread basket than the filets…. Not a good sign at all.

Magic Kingdom was the next day and I couldn’t wait to go on Space Mountain. Growing up, I spent many summers driving to Disney Land with my grandparents and Space Mountain holds a special place in my heart. It is a family favorite with a background story we love to tell. It goes like this: I was with my grandparents and my mom waiting for hours to ride Space Mountain for the first time. I guess I was pretty nervous about riding a roller coaster in the dark and kept telling my Grandpa about some concerns I had. It worked out that he sat in the row behind me and I screamed my head off the entire ride. My grandpa felt terrible during the entire ride thinking, I made her go on this ride she hates and is screaming with fear.

Of course, the punchline is, when we got off, I immediately requested we go on it again, having had the time of my life on it. What a relief for my Grandpa! πŸ™‚

Ok, back to our honeymoon! After more rides, we went to lunch at Jungle Navigation Skipper Canteen, which was one of my top 2 favorite places in Disney World. It was a nice air conditioned break from the heat and the menu had the most vegetables I saw in the entire park. Haha

Next we made the game day decision to go back to the hotel for a dip in the pool and an afternoon nap. Much needed!

Well rested, we went to dinner that night at Be Our Guest, which I heard was hard to get reservations for, so I was proud of our planning. The restaurant is in the beasts and Belle’s castle and features a 3 course prefixed menu. The big draw though is the “grey stuff” you get for dessert. It is indeed delicious, y’all.

Turns out I must have gotten my fill of Disney Land when we went a few years ago because I was ready to leave Magic Kingdom after dinner. We went to the Boardwalk in the search of souvenirs but quickly aborted mission for something a little more lively! Cue Disney Springs. Ah, this place was actual magic for this soon to be 30 year old.

We grabbed a beer and caught the last few songs of a live band. It was a bummer we’d already eaten because there were some amazing restaurants there, including a wine and oyster bar that we are still wanting to try. Next time!

Another highlight of the evening was when we caught a skipper just in time to hop on the last boat heading our way. It could have been just the excitement of perfect timing or maybe the beer but for whatever reason, Mike and I loved that boat ride home!

Our last day was spilt between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom was a jammed few hours of rides stacked on rides; between our fast passes, some short lines, and opting to go as single riders instead of together to bypass longer lines.

We had lunch at Sanaa that afternoon and.. let me just pause for a second and say loveeee. The bread service is it, people. Fly to Orlando, eat here, and you can go home right after. (Kidding) (Kind of)

On top of the amazing food and aesthetics, you get to watch different animals walk around in the courtyard while you eat. So overall, it’s just a really fun, delicious, way to spend an afternoon.

After lunch it was time for Hollywood Studios and a 85 minute line up (!) to go on the Tower of Terror. Normally fast drop-down rides aren’t my favorite but Mike loves them. Per usual, I screamed (and death griped my seat) the entire time.

We rounded out the day with a few more rides before going back to the hotel and packing for our early morning flight to the Caribbean!

Loved Disney with my PRINCE πŸ˜‰

NYC

Manhattan; city of dreams, hangovers, and an endless list of things to do, places to eat, and boroughs to explore. Armed with 3 of my closest girlfriends, I made it my mission to cram as much of it as I could into 3 days during my bachelorette party.

I arrived Thursday afternoon after an uneventful flight and was immediately assaulted by the cold as I exited JFK. Shit, I thought as I jammed my hands in to the depths of my pockets, how am I going to do this weekend? My breathe was visible and my body shaking until I finally got into my Lyft.

$50 and 50 minutes later I was at The Ace. I stayed at The Ace last November when I went to Chicago and decided it’s funky little vibe was perfect for a girls weekend in the city.

I knew my friend Melissa was already there but I wasn’t fully expecting to walk into a room decorated with all things bachelorette. There was champagne, a flower grown that had a veil attached to it, streamers with tiny unmentionables dangling from the walls, and more.

Melissa and I caught up while we got ready for dinner and waited for my other friend Morgan to arrive. As a side note, getting ready with your friends is probably my favorite part of being a girl. So.much.bonding happens!

We ate dinner at abcV, which I am going to say is equal parts amazing and perplexing. I guess it is a carpet store, but there are also two restaurants there? It’s like Anthropology and Urban Outfitters had a love child, then decided to add trendy AF restaurants to the equation. Essentially every girl’s dream.

When we sat down we were instantly greeted with glasses of bubbly (cute!) (because my friends are the best and called the restaurant ahead with word of my LastFlingBeforeTheRing). Of course abcV was tapas style (#trendyAF). We ordered veggies and hummus, avo lettuce cups, fried artichokes, and the tofu. After our plates were cleared and our stomachs (almost) full (are tapas ever really enough food tho?) we were delighted with a complimentary matcha creme brΓ»lΓ©e dessert. Yum like, woah.

Next up? Cocktails! We wondered over to Dear Irving but there was a wait. The hostesses recommended we pop into the bar directly downstairs until she had a table ready for us. So there the three of us went, to sit in a dark, cozy, deliciously-New-York-feeling bar drinking Manhattans. As you do.

On Friday morning we woke up with one collective thought: bagels. We hit up Black Seed Bagels, which has a nom poppyseed bagel. After carbing up, we went to Chillhouse for coffee and manis. What a gem of a place! It looks pretty unassuming from the outside but it is cute inside. Coffee was necessary at that point and in between strokes of nail polish, we sipped our java and marveled at how great Chillhouse was.

I can see this place getting packed on the weekends, which would decidedly make it a little less chill, but we were lucky to go on a Friday morning and were basically the only ones there.

With fresh nails, we calculated that we had just enough time to walk down Broadway to Wall Street before Lauren arrived at the hotel that afternoon. We dodged 1.5 miles of busy New York sidewalks to see the Charging Bull and The Fearless Girl statue. The latter felt particularly special as it was International Women’s Day.

After some pictures with both statues, the cold and being outside for around 2 hours was wearing on us. We went back to the hotel to get ready and wait for Lauren to arrive for our 5:30pm drink reservations at The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Plaza, which has gorgeous views of the city and Central Park. We sat at a table facing the park and shared a bottle of wine and a few appetizers. It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend with everyone finally there!

After, we walked to dinner at Fig & Olive, which might have been my favorite eatery of the weekend. We started with the burrata, goat cheese, and prosciutto crostinis, and then spilt the sea bass, lobster ravioli, and risotto. Once dinner was a wrap, we went back to the hotel for a outfit change πŸ˜‰ and the hunt for another perfect NYC bar. After a few tries, we finally nailed it with Oscar Wilde. This place was everything I wanted on a Friday in New York; it was trendy with good drinks and music. Plus we scored a table in the middle of it all.

We ended the night with french fries, vodka sodas, and some classic mirror pix back at our hotel.

Saturday started with coffee at the cutest cafe Melissa knew about called Felix Roasting Co. This place is coffee lovers oasis. Plus, they have their own house made nut milk on tap! We were running behind to make a 11:45am walking tour at The High Line so hopped in a cab to get there on time. (Shout out to Lauren for hailing it like a champ.) For the next 2 hours we walked suspended above Manhattan’s meat Packing district, learning the ins and outs of the old railroad turned city park.

Luckily the weather wasn’t too bad, even somewhat nice if we were lucky enough to steal a few minutes in a spot of sun. The walking tour was a highlight of the weekend for me. Our guide had a lot of great information and insider stories that he shared with us. The High Line is also just beautiful. There is something special about being somewhere tranquil in the middle of city madness.

We went to The Park for lunch, which was another gem of a find. Unfortunately though, I got a salad that left me feeling nauseaus. Not fun! I was bummed because we were in Greenwich, my favorite part of the city, and I just couldn’t rally… So many cute streets and bars left unvisited! Lauren, Morgan, and Melissa were saints and took me back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap in the middle of our last day there. I felt pretty bad that we had to go back but the rest could have been good for us all, and the fuel we needed to party that night.

I woke up feeling better and ready to hit the city again. We had dinner reservations at 8:30pm, which is absurdly late for this west coast chica, but right par for the course in New York. I love visiting Manhattan but could never live there partly because of the constant hussle and late night social scene that pluses through the streets and avenues. On a typical night, when New Yorkers are just starting their evening, I am ready to start calling it a night. Ha.

Of course being that I was on vacation with 3 of my girls, I was all in for a late night out. After dinner at Acme (which was delicious and definitely recommended), we walked to Whiskey Town, a dark little bar in Greenwich Village.

So this is what I’ve learned about going out when you’re a little bit older and in a relationship: the places that are actually fun to dance at are fewer and farer in-between. Look, I know I’m not even 30 yet but I still don’t want to spend my night with a whole bunch of kids who just become of legal age to drink. I was one of those annoying early 20 years olds once, I don’t need to relive it by proxy.

Prior to the trip, when we were trying to figure out where to go on Saturday night, my one request to my friend Lauren was that is was like this bar/club, Razzoo’s, we went to for her bachelorette party in New Orleans last summer. We wanted good music and no sloppy drinkers. Whiskey Town basically fit this bill! …Which meant, we stayed there all night.

Some, more adventurous souls, may have wondered to another bar in search of other scenes or people to meet, but not me. I was content holding down our spot – right by the DJ with barstools (for our coats) and a ledge (for our drinks) in close proximity all night. We took turns buying rounds and running to the bathroom (“breaking the seal” is as real as it was when I was 21;). We danced and shouted (both lyrics to songs and in an effort to communicate).

I wore my flower crown veil and fielded inquires about the wedding. As well as the general “are you getting married?!” question you get a million times when you go out in public wearing a veil to a bar.

And when it was all said and done, it was time for …pizza. Late night, after the bar, huge New York slices of za.

Melissa was the first to leave on Sunday, on an early flight back home to Toronto. I gave her a messy, sleepy hug and got back into bed until 11am when the rest of us had collectively set our alarms. Initially we had brunch reservations for 10am but when we got back to our hotel at 5am, it was without a question that we canceled them to sleep in instead.

When we were finally up, showered, and packed, we had just enough time to walk a few blocks to Scarpetta, a divine little spot located in the NoMad hotel. The twinkle lights and live jazz music make Scarpetta feel like a fairy tale. …A fairy tale with good coffee and avo toast. (Which, in my opinion, is better than being saved a prince!)

Despite the cold weather that weekend, New York was a blast. A huge shout out to my ladiiies for such an incredible trip. Next up? The wedding!

CHICAGO

The week after Portland I flew to Chicago for work. Oh, what a town! The food scene there is like nothing I’ve experienced before. Every.single.thing. I ate was delicious. I probably came home a few lbs heavier but there are no regrets (just mourning for the yummy pasta and pizza and burgers and burrata (so much burrata)).

I touched down Tuesday evening and immediately meet my manager/friend for dinner at the hotel we were both staying at, The Ace Chicago. Inside, we found an equally chic and cozy restaurant called City Mouse, where we split an order of grilled carrots, burrata, fried artichoke, and octopus. πŸ˜‹

We had a productive working session as a team on Wednesday, complete with another yummy lunch. That evening I got to try RPM Italian, Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s restaurant. This might not be cool to say, but I love celebs. I’m not into reading trashy magazines about them but I do like following my faves on instagram and going to their restaurants when I can!

In theme with Chicago itself, everything I had at RPM was delicious. We started with the Giuliana salad (will have to recreate), and an order of the burrata and fried artichokes. For our main meals, we tried the lobster ravioli and the chicken parmesan. The standout for me was how good and fresh the pasta was that came with the chicken parm. In all honesty though, the whole meal was carb-y, cheesy bliss.

img_20181114_194149.jpg

Ok, so aside from all the nom food… it was COLD in Chicago. I know, I know, when I went it wasn’t even as bad as it is going to get BUT this California girl was freezing nonetheless. That night I actually went to bed thinking, well at least it isn’t snowing… 

And, of course, guess what I woke up to on Thursday morning… snow.

We spent the day working from City Mouse; with a pretty view, hot tea, and cozy soup and a grain bowl for lunch. Not too shabby!

mvimg_20181115_084417

img_20181115_124936

I worked a half day on Friday and then MIKE ARRIVED! Our first stop was the bean (or Cloud Gate). I don’t know why I’ve always wanted to see this landmark but there is just something appealing to me about that steel shaped giant bean! It was so cool to see it in person. Next time I’m in CHI, I’m making another stop here but in the early morning when it isn’t so crowded.

Also, it was freezing…! So we left after about 5 minutes. Hmm.. maybe a summer trip is in store?

img_20181116_145954

img_20181116_150128

mvimg_20181116_150657.jpg

Next up was a drink at Cindy’s in the Chicago Alethic Association Hotel. Cindy’s is a convenient ~5 minute walk from the bean. We didn’t have a reservation (I learned resos are key in CHI) but luckily were able to slip into two seats in the back.

This is another place that seems like it would be cool in the summer, with their rooftop patio and gorgeous views. Although there was a fire pit outside, we opted to stay indoors. The cocktails at Cindy’s were good but the company was better. It was good to see Mike after a few nights away!

img_20181116_155354

img_20181116_153958

Like I mentioned, Chicago is a reservation city! (Which I actually prefer because, based on my experience, they do sit you within five minutes when you have one – unlike California where reservations don’t really mean anything.) It was still early but I knew we had to figure out dinner. Mike did some Googling and found this place called The Deerborn, which was recommended to us (by the big G) because it was “similar to OCK” (our favorite restaurant at home). Let me just say, Google can have ALL OF MY DATA just for this recommendation alone.

I don’t know enough adjectives to rave about this place with due justice.

In classic Ashley and Mike form, we ordered a few things to spilt. Starting with the French onion soup (which we now want to make at home) and the mezze platter, that included dolmades, hummus, tzatziki, babaganoush, and the best flatbread to soak up all the dips in. It was basically my dream … on a platter.

To be sure we were nice and full, next we ordered the mac and cheese and maple fried chicken. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Also, we’ll be saying screw it to the turkey next year for Thanksgiving. We’re making maple fried chicken (and mac n cheese, and an epic mezze platter, and onion soup).

IMG_20181116_191054

On Saturday we walked to a cafe nearby to caffeinate for the day. My go-to, to-go order is an almond milk cafe au lait and, as to be expected in the magical city of all good food and drinks, wasn’t disappointed once. I’m also a huge almond milk snob and ask to see which one they use before placing my order soooo double points to Chi-town.

IMG_20181117_100603

Next we decided to bear the rain and hit up the Christmas market. What a mistake! We didn’t even do a full loop before we left and sought shelter in the mall nearby. Ok it was time for pizza. DEEP DISH PIZZA.

img_20181117_112749
The roasted nuts weren’t even worth the rain.. 

00000portrait_00000_burst20181117112805555

Everyone I asked recommended I go to Lou Malnati’s for the best deep dish in town. We got there around 11:30am and I’m glad we did! It takes about 40 minutes for them to make your pizza (which is expected for deep dish) but when we left, the waiting area was packed.

We ordered a pie with spinach and mushrooms, despite the menu mentioning it isn’t truly deep dish unless there is sausage on it. Which I can say, I wholeheartedly disagree. Our pizza was deep-dish-delicious sans sausage. It was ooey and gooey and buttery crusty. Oh, and the tomatoes on it. Perfection in every bite.

img_20181117_124049

Ok, we’ve made it to the part of the blog post program that I am going to stop talking about how frickin’ good all of the food was and tell you my favorite part of the trip (if you can believe it wasn’t the noshes).

Two words: Paper Machete

Actually, four words for more context: Green Mill Paper Machete

img_20181117_142232

The Paper Machete at Green Mill was recommended to me by a colleague. When I was bummed that Second City tickets were sold out, she told me to go here and to be early!

The show starts at 3pm. We got there at 2:07pm and snagged the last open table by the stage. One beer for Mike. One martini for me; gin please.

The band rehearsed. I complained about how loud it was (I have v sensitive ears) and started to wonder if this was really the best use of out last afternoon in the city…

The showed started and before the first act was over, I knew. I knew it was going to be real good and real raw. I was ready for the ride.

The Paper Machete was a 2 (ish) hour live magazine where performers acted out various current events. The first was a monologue my the First Lady, Melania; so good and so funny and such a relief to know most of the audience was Democratic.

There was also a pianist, a trio of female singers, a few other skits sprinkled in between, and the headlining band (which I still think was a little too loud but it was fine). Mike and I were belly laughing almost the whole time. I also fanned out at the end and asked to take a picture with the girl band (one of the members had already gone home though, boo!).

img_20181117_173619

Buzzed (from both the martini but also creatively from being around such talent) we left hungry and ready for dinner. Remember when I said Chicago is a reservation city? Well, we didn’t have any for dinner that night. Whomp, whomp.

We tried a few places near the hotel but most had a 2 hour wait. A little defeated we walked up the stairs in the SoHo house to the Chicken & Farm Shop. They sat us immediately and I was nothing short of suspect… Why wasn’t there a wait?

I still can’t answer that question because um, this place was reason enough to go back to Chicago. We ordered the collard greens, chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese, and the best burger I’ve ever had that was infused with bone marrow that should be how all burgers are ever made…!

On our last morning in Chicago, we got ultra touristy and went to the Skydeck. Basically we stood in line for 1.5 hours and paid $50 for 60 seconds in a glass box 110 stories up.

img_20181118_114631

img_20181118_114549

I was a little nervous I would be scared to step out onto the glass floor, but felt so rushed I didn’t have to think about it. We shared the box with another party and we were both trying to cram as many pictures in one minutes as possible. It’s actually pretty chaotic. I wouldn’t do the Skydeck again but it was worth trying something new!

img_20181118_114523_1

After that, it was a wrap. We hurried back to the hotel to pack, hit up Ballast Point for one last pint, and we were on our way to the airport.

Chicago, you stole my heart (my stomach and my skinny jeans). I can’t wait to see you again.

img_20181118_114952-effects

Portland, OR

The best birthdays I’ve had have been the no-fuss kinds; filled with good food, friends, and family. Throw in a weekend away and it’s golden.

I turned 29 last Wednesday and, after celebrating with Mike, a bottle of wine, and stuffed pasta shells, we were on our way to Portland early Thursday morning. Friends from Santa Cruz flew in later that night and friends from Washington drove in on Friday morning.

Since we all wanted to stay together, we opted to stay in an airbnb in Vancouver, WA vs. staying directly in Portland. Our airbnb was pretty baller but with 6 people and all the money we spent on XL Lyfts, I’m not sure I would pick suburbia over downtown again.

 

After some avo toast at home base, Mike and I headed into the city to enjoy our day together. Our first stop was a gem that my manger recommended called Knot Springs. You. Guys. This place. An oasis in the outskirts.

img_20181108_121032-e1542255502904.jpg
“Ya. Basic.” (quote of the weekend)

We treated ourselves to a 2 hour “soak,” forgoing any spa treatments or workout classes that are also offered there. We were greeted with plush, trendy patterned towels and a cup of hot custom blended tea. Then we showered (required before getting in) and were given a tour of the tubs. The whole idea is to alternate between warm, hot, and cold water to revitalize your system. (There are a whole bunch of other benefits they list but I forget them!) We spent the next few hours dipping in different temperatures of water, trying our hand at some light yoga in the sauna, and enjoying the industrial views (I know that sounds like a contradiction). Not a bad way to spend a Thursday afternoon!

img_20181108_140553

img_20181108_161825

We stopped for beers and fried pickle spears at Wayfinder after. Mike is picky about his fried pickles and prefers spears to chips. So, whenever we see spears on the menu, you can bet we’re going to get them. Wayfinder had good beer and looked like a cool spot to go to in the summer but it had nothing compared to our next stop, Product Row Cafe.

mvimg_20181108_163341
cheers!

Mike and I love a good food crawl, and initially, that was our plan for the night – small noshes at multiple restaurants – until we sat on the enclosed patio at Produce Row Cafe…

The twinkle lights were dreamy. The wooden tables and wall paneling gave the place a rustic feel. The DJ playing mellow tunes set the right vibe.

…Plus, the cocktails and the company … intoxicating. πŸ˜‰

00100sportrait_00100_burst20181108183155550_cover.jpg

We left full of nom food and good spirits.

The next morning we walked to a nearby coffee shop called Brewed Awakenings. I love when I find local spots that use good ingredients like this place did. I ordered a coconut milk cafe au lait and sipped it on our walk back. It was creamy dreamy and had the added bonus of keeping my hands warm while we got our steps in on the walk back. It was a chilly weekend up north!

img_20181109_090646

img_20181109_093310

Caffeinated and dressed in layers, it was time to head into the city for some sours. I love a good sour beer, and they paired perfectly with the baked brie we ordered as a snack.

We stopped at one more place (with legendary artwork in the bathroom, pictured below) for another round before walking to an event called My People’s Market that celebrated a diverse marketplace of multicultural vendors.

received_349498535819733.jpeg
those cat pix tho

At the market we sampled wine, tasted ginger cotton candy, and browsed different booths with things from T shirts with political messages to essential oil rocks.

Next we filled up on bread, fresh olive oil, pasta, soup, salad, and all good Italian things at Nostrana.

mvimg_20181109_175154

img_20181109_180101
My girls ❀

received_326575094802240.jpeg

On Saturday morning we explored the Japanese Gardens, which was as gorgeous as expected (and also had the biggest leafs I’ve ever seen). Aside from the chilly weather, it was fun to wonder around the gardens together, with plenty of pictures sprinkled throughout the adventure. πŸ™‚

received_2169802176673649.jpeg

img_9617.jpg

img_20181110_124444

Next up it was time to warm up. …with sake and sushi (staying in theme of the day, obviously). We made our way to Bamboo Sushi and I had some of the best rolls I’ve ever had. The honey miso roll… drooling just thinking about it. Plus, what’s better than miso soup on a cold day?

We ended our day with adult slushies and karaoke at one bar (as you do) and then at dinner at Bye and Bye, a vegan restaurant that I was pretty stoked to go to. I ordered the BBQ platter that came with BBQ tofu, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. The food was good (!) but I think the atmosphere would have been better for lunch as it was pretty dark in there.

received_2196598970360001.jpeg

received_1180852462064300.jpeg

00100sportrait_00100_burst20181110191208389_cover
Love Mike here lol

One more XL Lyft ride and we were back at the airbnb ready to hit the sheets (hi, weekends with late 20/mid 30 year olds!).

We’ll all be reunited again at mine and Mike’s WEDDING! ……in 6 months… what? time is flying. …should we have adult slushies at the wedding? πŸ™‚