We had succcch a great little mini-vacay in Big Bear. We went at just the right time – it had just snowed 24″ a couple days before we got there, but the roads were clear enough that we didn’t need snow chains. The weather was perfect – mid 40s during the day, low 20s at night. Plus, we went during the week, when lines for the lifts are non-existent, there is no traffic, and the hotel is quiet.
We stayed right on the lake, and the views were absolutely breathtaking. There is nothing in the world like fresh, crisp mountain air! I really enjoyed looking out over the frozen lake (which was unfrozen by the time we left) at the snow-covered hills, but I could tell it was an even more beautiful sight in the summertime when all the boats are out and about.
Snowboarding was an event – we took a beginner’s lesson which helped a lot, but my memory kicked in somewhere around the 1-hr mark and I was able to pick back up where I left off two years ago when I last hit the slopes. We fell. A lot. But we enjoyed it! So much in fact, we went two days in a row – despite being extremely sore.
We also went tubing at Alpine Slide – which, I’ll be honest, wasn’t quite as awesome as I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, it was so much fun sliding down the hills on the tubes, but I wanted something a little more extreme. I wanted to get thrown off my tube. I wanted my head to be spinning when I stood up. Instead, we were tubing alongside 5 yr olds. But we’ll take what we can get! And we did get some really adorable pictures.
Another highlight of the trip was eating. One look at Yelp and you can tell Big Bear isn’t exactly a culinary hot spot, but we managed to find a few local restaurants that had decent food, good wine, and friendly waiters. Our favorite spots were the Peppercorn Grille, Sweet Basil Bistro (the lobster lasagna was insane and the handmade mini-donuts with 3 different dipping sauces were TO DIE FOR), and the local greasy-spoon breakfast joint, Grizzly Manor Cafe. I can’t imagine any of these places would garner a solid 4 or 5 star Yelp standing in LA, but they were perfect for our trip.
All in all, a super relaxing little getaway. The perfect amount of time – we were just barely able to hit all the restaurants we wanted to, went into all the cute little store, chatted with the shop owners, and snowboarded until we were too sore to move. It took us less than 3.5 hours to get there (& home), and we felt lightyears away from the madness. We will be back!
Ahh, one of the best parts about vacations (especially international vacations) is the amazing feeling of coming back home. We arrived back in LA last night, picked up by the ever-wonderful Francesca, who also made sure both our fatties were fed while we were away! How great are good friends? Almost as great collapsing into your own soft bed after washing the airplane off of you in your own hot shower. Double cute: having your kitty sleep ON YOUR HEAD all night long and waking up to find your husband went out to get donuts.
Italy was… AMAZING! Truly beautiful cities, spectacular scenery, delicious food, and some of the friendiest people ever (quite a contrast to the Parisians… no offense to any French readers, you know I love you!) We (Julian) took a million wonderful photos, which I’ll get around to sharing on Flickr soon, but have included a few in this post.
We had the best time hanging out with Julia and her little man Trey, stomping all over Naples and Rome, shopping til we dropped, ducking in and out of the best little eateries, getting gelato almost daily, and getting to see centuries worth of history right before our very eyes.
It’s hard to say what my favorite part was, but driving along the Amalfi Coast and touring the Vatican are up there. I’ve got more than a couple souvenirs to remind me of my first trip to Italy, including two pairs of genuine, Made in Italy, leather boots that I scored for only 65euro … can you believe it?!
Now that we’re back home, it’s back to business as usual, and there is lots to be done. So I am off to run errands and get things back in order, but in the spirit of keeping you all updated, I thought I’d post first. How great am I?
I guess you could say I’ve been a little absent here lately, huh! What can I say, sometimes a girl needs a break. January has been a very transitional month for me. As many of you already know, I’m no longer working for Myspace and have been fortunate enough to take some much needed time off to focus on things outside of work – myself, my family, other miscellaneous projects, and one very exciting thing… travel! Which brings me to the point of this post.
Tonight, Julian and I will be departing the US of A and are headed to Italy to spend a week with a very good friend of mine and her little baby boy, Trey. We’ll be staying in Naples for the majority of the trip, checking out the nitty gritty downtown area, eating pizza, buying shoes, touring the Amalfi Coast, and taking a trip to the Blue Grotto in Capri. We’ll also be heading to Rome for a few days to see all the city has to offer, the Vatican, Colosseum, etc. etc. We are VERY excited! Neither of us has ever been to Italy so this is sure to be a memorable and thrilling experience.
sooo much of this!
Perhaps when we’re back I’ll be in more of a blogging mood again, because I know you miss me juuust a little (I’ve seen your tweets, I have!) and I do miss you too.
Fingers crossed we make it to and fro safely and that the handy little Italian phrasebook I picked up at Barnes & Noble yesterday does a sufficient job at teaching us Italian on the plane – because I don’t know a single word. I had to look up “arrivederci” so I could put it in the title of this blog post. This was our same method of learning French when we went to Paris last year. Oh Sarah, when will you ever learn?
It’s been nearly six months since Julian and I got married, but we are somehow just now finding the time to sort through and upload photos from our honeymoon in Paris and Berlin. Mostly Paris, though, since most of the photos in Berlin are of the animals in the zoo. Yes, I made him go to the zoo on his honeymoon. Evil, I know.
I’ve uploaded many of them to Flickr, if you’d like to have a look, but here are a few of my favorites!
Not too long ago, my Julian and I decided we were in need of a quick little peaceful getaway. Not having much in the way of time (and considering we did just go on a European honeymoon), we decided staying local was the best bet for us. Neither of us are from this coast, so we had to enlist the help of native friends to give us recommendations on the best places to go (I knew San Diego wasn’t gonna cut it). Knowing my taste, my girlfriend and then-coworker Lauren told me that we just HAD to go to Solvang, a little Danish town up in Santa Ynez Valley. I’d never even heard of the place at the time, but it seemed to be quite popular for LA and Santa Barbara-ites in need of relaxation. After a couple Googles, I was sold.
One of the many sweet windmills we saw. Who doesn’t love a good windmill?
We LOVED it – it was easily one of the most quaint, beautiful and peaceful towns I’ve ever been to. We ate ebelskivers, took in the stunning scenery, went on long walks through town (and an early morning run – rare for us – the things you do when work isn’t a factor!), basked in the silence, shopped in used bookstores, marveled at the cobblestone, took full advantage of the incredible breakfast buffet, made friends with a waitress who has a pig sanctuary, took photos of the various wildlife, wandered around Los Olives (MY FAVORITE), drank coffee on outdoor porches of quaint cafes, enjoyed complimentary wine tastings and dreamt about what life would be like if we lived up there. We also stayed in the best hotel ever – Hadsten House. The rooms were incredible, the rates affordable and the service outstanding. I’ve already emailed with the hotel manager about getting more of the free body butter they give you on your nightstand – it’s AMAZING. They also gave us lavender-scented linen spray.
I don’t have as many photos as I’d like, but I’m thankful to have these few. Julian, as willing as he is to take beautiful pictures for me, usually hides all the photos from our excursions on hard drives for me to never see again (until I nag him to email them), but this time, I found some on MY hard drive. It was a pleasant surprise. You can click to enlarge.
It was so difficult to choose which cafes and restaurants to stop at, they were all so adorable!
This is me, posing in the bookstore window while Julian takes a very artistic shot. I have a thing for used bookstores and he has a thing for taking pictures of me in them.
Um, I loved this house (hence the photo). My apologies to the homeowner for my gawking and pointing, but how cute is this?!
And of course, it wouldn’t be a photographic journey with Julian without taking glamour shots of moi. Any self-respecting girl just wouldn’t post them on her blog, but I kind of like ‘em.
This was his idea.
My new headshot? Dontcha love my clown blouse?
If any of you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend you stop by Solvang, even for an afternoon. It will melt all your worries away and you’ll leave a whole new person! Ok, that might be going a bit far, but it will certainly be worth your while.
It’s been a wild couple of weeks, but undoubtedly some of the happiest days I can ever remember. What is it about being newly engaged that makes you feel like you’re walking around in a dream? I feel like my head is in the clouds surrounded by little cartoon hearts. I’m back in LA, without my darling (who is still in Nashville working on some music stuff), but with plenty of catching up to keep me busy and my mind off of missing him!
The time I spent in Nashville was divine – I’m so thankful I had the chance to spend a week and a half of (mostly) uninterrupted time with my future family-in-law and all of Julian’s friends, some of whom I will know the rest of my life. So many great moments, I don’t even know where to start. The southern food, naps on the chaise lounge, Jenesis braiding my entire head of hair, wearing onesies on Christmas morning, massages on the stairs, the great folks at Eastgate CCF, looking back on baby books and love notes from new mothers, kissing my sweetheart at midnight on New Years, countless trips to Starbucks, window shopping in various Nashville malls, getting ready with Jeorgi in the bathroom and buying/cutting my own “man pants”, perusing bridal books and magazines with Kayla (also newly-engaged), awesome conversations with grandparents who have more wisdom than I could ever hope to, ice skating, laughing my face off with Julian’s siblings, watching them spontaneously write and play a full-band version of the Power Rangers theme, cuddling his stinking adorable nephews, even the pathetic snow flurries that were falling when Julian dropped me at the terminal on Monday morning.
My flight back was uneventful, always a good thing, except for the fact that airport security confiscated my brand new jar of (heavenly) Loveless Cafe peach preserves. I was planning on giving them to Lauren, who generously drove to LA from Pasadena everyday of my absence to feet Fatterson 1 and Fatterson 2, but instead, she just got a thing of biscuit mix. Merry Christmas, Lauren!
The first day back at work was busy, but not totally nightmare-ish, a lot of catch-up meetings and returning e-mails. Now I’m here at home, repainting my nails (of course) and waiting for my girl Francesca’s flight to get in from NYC. Because I’m a good friend, I offered to pick her up from the airport … even if it is arriving at 2:00am. So now I have to make the decision…. coffee? Or nap?
At least I have PLENTY to think about while I’m waiting – who knew wedding planning was such a huge task? Or shall I say, 4140371 mini tasks?! I’ve only been engaged a week and I’m already overwhelmed by the questions, the suggestions, the requests for me to tell the proposal story over and over again. I guess it’s a part of the entire experience – after all, this only happens once! I guess I should savor every moment of it. That being said, I have a few things in mind for what I want, but there is still much up in the air. I’m more looking forward to actually being married to the love of my life. This is without a doubt the HAPPIEST time of my life.
Sorry, you’ll have to forgive my abundance of barfalicious gushiness. I am just… well, if you’ve ever been engaged, you know what I mean. If not, you will understand one day!
ALRIGHT, I’ll cool it. Now that my holiday break is over, I’ll be returning to my regular blogging schedule. But one last thing before I get back to my DVR for the evening (that I must enjoy now before I get rid of my cable TV) – I am very proud to say that I managed to finish another book in my never ending stack! The Shack was awesome. I’m also working my way through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and The Millionaire Next Door audiobook. So much great info in that last one.. well, both, to be honest. Highly recommended.
This video is appropriate because I’m tickled pink after my awesome vacation and cross-country roadtrip, which I regretfully didn’t update about yet… but I will! We have loads of great pics and funny stories. I’m back in LA and feeling good, in the SocialVibe offices for the first time in over a week so naturally, there are a lot of things to catch up on. And, a lot of cool stuff that I’ll be able to share with everyone soon. As soon as I find the time to post a vacation update, I will! In the meantime, please watch this video of a surprised kitten that is currently going viral (it’s already been sent to me about 4 times this morning)…
Once upon a time, my fat kitty Scout looked exactly like that… but with a bit more white on her neck/belly. What a cutie.
I can’t believe it, but we actually made it to Virginia. We departed Los Angeles on Saturday morning, made a brief overnight pit stop in Nashville to visit with J’s wonderful family and get a crash-course in driving stick shift, then left on our 10.5 hour roadtrip to my hometwon yesterday morning. The drive through TN and VA was beautiful, and you could hardly notice that Julian and I had just learned how to operate a manual transmission just a handful of hours prior to taking off! Before I recount some of the highlights from yesterday, let me just say that It is SO great to be home and visit with my family for the first time in seven months. I’m currently parked at my Mom’s dining room table, watching the rain through the big glass window overlooking our backyard, and Mom is in the living room pinning the quilt she’s making me.
We’ve got four days of fun, family and food ahead of us, but here are some of the highlights from our Thanksgiving excursion so far (some of which might not make any sense to you but I’m including them anyway because, well, because I feel like it):
Our first time flying together (we watched the first half of Ben Hur – I’ve never seen it!); getting to hang with Julian’s family and meeting his sweet Grandparents; big hugs from little boys Avery, Ezra and Trevor; our very late night five hour crash course in driving stick from J’s brother Jhason and Julian’s filmmaker approach to learning to drive stick – “Did you get that on film?” (video to come soon); never quite getting the whole shifting-up-hill thing; ‘Mr. Cool Guy’ hand-in-the-pocket toothbrushing; slapping a Student Driver magnet on the back of our car; finding out it fell off somewhere between Nashville and Knoxville (drivers beware); lunch with cousin Garrett in Knoxville and a very delicious grilled veggie sub; stalling on a hill five times in front of a very patient pick-up truck drive (thank goodness we’re not in LA, I have a feeling the reaction would have been VERY different); spotting a flaming tire bouncing across the interstate (terrifying); listening to classical Christmas carols; the VA and TN scenery that I miss so much, miles & miles of rolling hills of trees with leaves clinging to the branches, rock walls on the side of the interstate, overcast skies, barns with advertisements painted on the sides of them; “I’m pretty sure that guy wasn’t wearing a shirt, just a puffy vest.”; taking pictures of Shoney’s restaurants; actually, my horrible, horrible photography skills despite using a top of the line camera (we have 500 pictures of blurry trees); screeching like a maniac in glee when I saw the sign for I-66 E; sleeping in my favorite baby blue sheets…mmm.
Parking lot director.
We’re gonna need this. Oh, and make sure you get this on film.
(I’ll do a big photo post later this week when Julian gives me access to his super-secret files)
This morning Mom made Belgian waffles and now we’re going to enjoy some nice Moroccan Mint tea before taking off to give Julian a tour of Old Towne Manassas, and then we’re heading to my Dad’s to visit with the other half of my family… whom I can’t WAIT to see and introduce Julian to!
Guh… things have been a little nuts lately. If you haven’t had the pleasure of working at a startup during a launch, well, you haven’t truly lived. I don’t know why I’m whining though, as the SocialVibe Product & Technology team are the ones who are REALLY suffering here, working day and night to fix site bugs and what not. Bless them.
On the brighter side of things, it seems to officially be FALL here, and the weather has turned from 80s to 60s almost overnight. The windows are shut at night, fans are off, the heat is on (haha… “the heat is on”) and the cats are extra-cuddly. About those cats: I think I’m allergic. Crap. I’m the biggest cat lover in the world, so I’m going to be looking into hollistic remedies. If you have any, please pass them along.
Julian and I have also just booked tickets to head back East for Thanksgiving… we’re flying into Nashville for a couple of days then driving up to Virginia to see my family for another few days. Then, we’re going on a good old-fashioned road trip cross country back to LA. This will be my first time spent in Virginia during the autumn season since I moved to California over three years ago, so I’m very much looking forward to it!
Speaking of fall, Halloween is just around the corner and I can’t think of what to be. We don’t really have any major plans yet, but I love a good costume. Surely I can’t revisit this old classic, Twink from Rainbow Brite (thanks, Mom.) What should I be?
Don’t make me revert to my nerd costume of 2008…
This is a sad excuse for a blog post, and I’ll do a more lengthy one tomorrow, but in the meantime, please enjoy this street by NY artist Martin Sobey. (via GOOD magazine)