LAGUNA STAYCATION

LAGUNA STAYCATION

After graduation I really wanted to do something to celebrate my hard work, and nothing sounded better than a relaxing trip somewhere. Being fully vaccinated, I feel way less anxious about traveling and being in crowds (totally 180 degrees from last year). My boyfriend and I talked about several places- Hawaii, Europe, New York, and Northern California. We ended up deciding on Laguna, California. We were really aiming for Hawaii, but by the time we decided to do it, flights were way to expensive,

I was actually okay with it and very excited to go to Laguna. I had never been before and all the pictures looked so beautiful. I did a lot of research about things to do, where to eat, and coffee places as well as asked for recommendations from friends. We originally were staying three days, but we had to cut the trip short because my work opened up and we couldn’t afford to stay longer than over night.

Even though it was a short trip, it was honestly so good! I didn’t feel deprived because everything that I really wanted to do we were able to do.

WHERE WE STAYED

The Inn at Laguna | I really wanted something that was walkable to the beach and food places. I also wanted something with a nice looking pool and decent looking rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I have stayed in many a motel throughout my life but, for graduation I wanted something that felt special to me. The Inn not only was very cute, right on the beach, and had a dreamy pool, it was also very affordable (and allowed dogs). I highly recommend it if you are looking for a stay that is affordable but feels more expensive. We spent a few hours at the pool on our first night and it was so nice. I read a little bit, took a dip in the pool, and then spent some time in the jacuzzi before dinner. The best part was hearing the ocean from our room and the occasional meeting of a furbaby.

WHAT WE DID

1000 Steps | Okay the name is intense. There aren’t really a thousand steps BUT the steps will kick your butt (especially if you are out of shape like me) going back up them. The plus side? the stairway is shaded and it leads to a beautiful beach. I honestly was talked into doing this. Did I die going back up? Yes. Am I still sore days later? Absolutely. Would I do it again? 100%. This was one of those things where you just have to commit to it because those steps are a workout but the beach is so beautiful. There are tide pools, caves, and lots of things to explore. We didn’t actually get to explore the cave because we weren’t there at the right time and the tide was too high.

Victoria Beach + Pirate Tower | This beach is a must do. It is a little bit harder to find but, it is totally worth it. My boyfriend was really skeptical about the tower being there because when you first enter the beach you can’t see it. It does require a climb over rocks to see it and to reach it. There is also an abandoned round pool that fills up with water before you hit the tower. Again, you have to be there at the right time for it to be filled. We were there in the morning, and it was empty. The tower is something out of a Disney movie. It is so magical, and we spent about an hour just hanging out around it. I highly recommend bringing water shoes with good grips on the bottom if you plan exploring. They were such a lifesaver and made it so easy to walk around the rocks.

WHERE WE ATE

Wild Taco | This was a recommendation and wow was it delicious! This was our first meal in Laguna and it exceeded our expectations. I had the carne asada, pollo aside, and the potato and black bean tacos. They all were mouth-watering. We also devoured a giant order of chips and salsa.

Laguna Coffee | This was the top priority coffee place I wanted to go to. You know it’s going to be good when there is a line of locals (including cops) out the door. I ordered a cappuccino with oat milk and it was very delicious. I also love the cups so much!

Heidelberg Cafe | This was another amazing recommendation. This was our last meal of the trip. We grabbed lunch before we headed home and I’m so glad we chose this restaurant. I ordered the wagu beef sliders and they were the best sliders I have ever had. The fries were also cooked to perfection– nice a crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We sat outside with a view of the ocean and soaked up every last second being in Laguna.

While I wish we could have stayed longer, being able to do pretty much everything we wanted to do was amazing. I can’t wait to go back and try out more food places, and explore some more beaches. I would also love to go back to 1000 steps and Victoria Beach at different times to experience what we were able to do this time.

Have you ever been to Laguna? If so, please leave some recommendations down below!

-Lyndsay

PORTLAND, OREGON | TRAVEL THROWBACK

PORTLAND, OREGON | TRAVEL THROWBACK

On September 11, 2018 my boyfriend and I traveled to Portland, Oregon. This was the first trip we took just the two of us and it honestly was so perfect! In SoCal it doesn’t get very cold in the fall and I always crave that crisp Fall air being bundled up in a cozy sweater. We decided early on in the year that we wanted to take a short trip to Portland. Why Portland? It was just a short flight and a place neither of us had been before…did I mention the cold weather?!

We stayed at this super cute Air BnB which admittedly was a lot smaller than we expected but it was so cute! We really only needed a nice place to sleep as we were out in the city pretty much from 8am until 11pm. So honestly, it was just what we needed. 

I loved all of the thoughtful details the host put into the decor like all of the books on portland as well as local chocolate for us to eat and a mini fridge filled with local spirits. This place was also very Pinterest worthy! It was ideally located right next to a public transit line.

Since we were only there for a short amount of time we tried to do as much as possible off our list. My boyfriend was mainly interested in food places while I wanted to do all the sights!

WHAT WE DID

Powell’s Bookstore | this was a non-negotiable must do especially since we are both avid readers and honestly we spent 3 hours in this gigantic bookstore. We planned it out well and did it the first night we arrived right before dinner. If you love bookstores I would plan out a large chunk of time to explore the 5 floors.

Ground Kontrol | If you grew up playing in arcades this is heaven! We had such a fun game night after Powell’s with a few rounds of tetris and time crisis. There is a bar inside that serves only local beers and ciders. 

Japanese & Rose Garden | The second day we trekked on up to Washington Park to go explore the Japanese gardens and they did not disappoint. It definitely was a workout going up into the mountain and all through the garden but the view was definitely worth it. There were so many gems we came across while walking the paths. The rose gardens are located just below and they are beautiful. 

Pittock Mansion | On the mountain opposite from Washington Park is where this gorgeous estate is. It was quite the hike and I honestly had to take a few breaks on the way up. By the time we got to the top, the sun started shining and I started sweating…profusely. We initially went just to walk around the grounds but after sitting on a bench drinking water we decided to pay the admission and go inside. It was totally worth it! On the way down though, it completely poured on us. 

WHERE WE ATE

Por Que No? | We went here straight from the airport (on the way to our Air BnB). The tacos were so good and we loved sitting outside in the gloomy weather. It was such a good start to our trip. 

Mothers Bistro | This one was my pick! I had heard a lot about it from Pinterest and was insistent that this would be our splurge breakfast spot. It was soo good. I ordered the frittata (ah-mazing), my boyfriend ordered the salmon hash, and we both split a Belgium waffle with locally grown blackberries. We ordered a french press for coffee and sat at a table with a view of the city. I honestly still dream about this meal; it was perfect.

VooDoo Donut | While we were there we had to try this place because I mean…everyone talks about it. It was a really cool donut stop but we honestly weren’t too impressed with the donuts.

Blue Star Donut | This place on the other hand was our favorite! We actually stopped at one on our way to the airport and ate them on the plane. They were all so delicious and we loved how they leaned more on the pastry side than the donut side. Luckily one opened up near us in Los Angeles so we can always go get some without the use of a plane!

German Place-

Poisons Rainbow | This was the main place my boyfriend wanted to go to so of course we did it the first night. The ambiance was really cool but sadly it no longer is in business. This bar was owned by the founder of Modest Mouse (my boyfriend’s favorite band) and it leased out the kitchen to a pizza place called Ranch Pizza. Honestly, the pizza was amazing! We both crave it all the time and have even tried to recreate it! The pizza place still exists if you are ever up there.

Salt & Straw | We loved the ice cream here and is definitely a must if you go. We actually lucked out because it was pouring rain when we got there and waited out the storm with scoops of peach cobbler ice cream. We recently got one of these in Downtown Disney so we pretty much go there all the time when we are craving a good artisanal ice cream!

I hope you enjoyed walking down memory lane with me! This was one of my favorite trips in the U.S. thus far. It was so much fun and I loved exploring a new city that was very different from where I live! Have you been to Portland before? I would love to hear about your trip in the comments below!

-Lyndsay

TRAVEL THROWBACK | SAN FRANCISCO BACHELORETTE

TRAVEL THROWBACK | SAN FRANCISCO BACHELORETTE

I can’y believe that a year ago I threw my bestie a Harry Potter themed bachelorette party in San Francisco! The more and more I am in quarantine the more grateful and blessed I feel that she got married last year. I was her Maid of Honor and I helped her with everything even planning the wedding. I was flying up and down the state (she lives up north) and I was so excited to not only do this with her but for all the things I got to attend. I was heavily involved with her bridal shower, dress finding, and well all the things that came with the MOH title and I was living for it!

Since I haven’t been able to travel at all this year because of COVID I find myself reminiscing about all the fun things I did last year and this by far was one of my favorites. I thought it would be fun to take you along on my trip down memory lane.

I left on a Thursday night after work and honestly was extremely tired. I had stayed up all night the night before trying to fit everything in one suitcase that wasn’t over weight to check under with the added bonus of trying my best to make sure nothing broke! We were also having a horrible heat wave which never helps anything. I remember getting to the airport and seeing this sunset. It made me stop and enjoy the moment and it was the perfect start to the weekend.

I took on the bachelorette all by myself with minimal help from the three other bridesmaids. This was something I really wanted to do for everyone. This meant that the financial responsibility was all mine. After lots of time looking on Pinterest, YouTube, blogs, Etsy, and Amazon I decided that I could easily DIY things that cost a lot of money online. Everything else I couldn’t make I waited for sales. I made the invitations, games, and signs/stickers from scratch and printed them at work!

I made all of the decorations myself with supplies from Michaels, Target, and the Dollar Tree. I also utilized things I had around the house to keep the costs down. What I really wanted to put my money on was the tote bags and money for the weekend.

Here are the totes I put together. I really wanted to do a theme that I knew the bride would love but at the same time not be too themed. So I tried my best to have a good balance. I did this by using non-themed colors, subtle nods to Harry Potter, and typical bachelorette things like mini champagne bottles, candy, and a hangover kit! I especially loved the personalized cold cups I got for everyone. It was so helpful that weekend because we knew who’s cup was who’s.

As for the festivities I didn’t take very many pictures because I really wanted to be present and enjoy the moment. We started on Friday evening with a taco night with margaritas at the bride’s house. All the girls got to know each other and we basically just had a fun girls night. The next morning we did brunch followed by games. We then drove into the city and checked into our AirBNB where we got ready for dinner. I ad many conversations with the bride about what she wanted and her expectations for the night out. I felt it was super important to make sure I was doing what she wanted and not what I thought she wanted. I ended up not telling her the plan at all because she wanted to be surprised and that included the theme!

We went to a fondue dinner followed by bar hopping in the city. It was so much fun! I picked three bars that were all based around a theme and all different from the others. We started at Smugglers Cove which is pirate theme and only serves rum. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Sponge Bob! The atmosphere is so much fun and the drinks are delicious. The next bar was called Novela. This bar is amazing and is practically a bar in a library. The last bar we went to was the best way to close out the night! It is called Phonobar and it is like stepping into Mad Men. Super retro in a classy way with specialty drinks and in the back there was a live DJ. We closed the bar down at 3 a.m. dancing the night away.

On Sunday morning we did brunch by the ocean and then headed home. It was such a great weekend and I gained three friends! I honestly love all the girls that shared this experience with me and I was so much more excited for the wedding knowing these girls better.

TRUTH TALK | EUROPE TRIP CANCELED

TRUTH TALK | EUROPE TRIP CANCELED

When my cruise got canceled (that post here) I was secretly hoping that everything would be okay by the time my Europe trip came around…sadly, it wasn’t. This trip had been planned since December of 2019 and honestly it was my dream trip and a very necessary trip for me to go on.

Growing up I dreamt of going to Paris. It has always been on the top of my travel to-do list but there was one important aspect of my trip: my grandmother. We were always super close and had a plan to go “one day” together. We would sit in cafes and do nothing but eat bread and cheese (and wine). Two years ago she passed away. We never got the chance to go. So, I made a promise to myself that I would go for the both of us; that I wouldn’t put it off. That was going to be THIS trip.

My dad had an opportunity to do some work for a few days in England. When he told me he wanted to do a small family trip to Europe before he had to work; I saw it as a sign. I thought, “Wow! This is actually happening…this is my chance”. We had everything planned out, our tickets were bought, and (of course) I started shopping.

When the trip got canceled I was broken-hearted. This was my dream trip. I was going to Paris and London. I was FINALLY going to stand in front of the Eiffel Tower, tour museums, and eat all the pastries. Obviously this was out of our control and when we bought our tickets there was no way we could have known that the world was going to come to a stop.

I know that one day I will get there (we are already talking about going in 2021) but it still doesn’t take away the sting.

Have you had any trips that got canceled that made you really sad? Leave me a comment down below because misery loves company.

-Lyndsay