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    Family, Travel

    Florida Family Vacation

    Last week we spent 6 days in my favorite way; no agenda & all play time. We built sand castles to knock down, paddle boarded as the sun rose, chased crabs into their homes, and I had my fair share of mocktails.

    You’d think after living the first 14 years of my life in Florida that I wouldn’t forget fundametal things like how the heat & humidity smack you right in the face when you go outside…especially in JULY….but turns out I forget every. single. time. and every single time I’m left wondering why on earth I brought a hoodie “just in case” (true confessions of a shameless over-packer) I also packed 6 swimsuits and only wore three of them, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Thankfully, the Atlantic is just right and with the long Florida tides we were able to spend all day in the shallow water. Margot, you had a ball and you loved catching up with cousin Jack – you still ask for him to come play at home *break my heart*. You learned about jellyfish, boogie-boards, and watched Mullet jump in the water. You fed catfish some french fries and ate calamari for the first time (which you LOVED).  You slept like a dream from spending all day in the sun and first thing you would say each morning was “I wan pay Dack ou-sigh!” (translation: “I want to play with Jack outside!”) At least once a day you would wander back up to the house, stand under the outdoor shower and wait until we came to turn it on – I’m assuming you wanted to cool down and once you did you would run back down to the beach to play. I love that you are adventurous and unafraid to wander, sometimes we would let you walk  just to see how far you would go – we found out it was uncomfortably far & always had to come get you!

    Lastly, I have decided that I want to be better about making home videos! I have loads of little videos on my phone and computer but never get around do doing anything with them – So here is Hollar family video #1 with hopefully many more to come 🙂

    Song: Anywhere we go // Kaptan

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    Travel

    Trip Guide: Santa Barbara, CA

    My bestie, Jesse, recently asked me to tag along on a quick trip to Santa Barbara a couple weekends ago to which I responded with an emphatic “YES!” In all reality it was an emphatic “yes” followed by a less confident ” I just need someone to watch Margot…”, but the excitement was definitely there. Julian agreed to single-dad-it for the weekend so I agreed to a girls weekend of zero agenda and lots of Justin Bieber music.

    Friday afternoon we pulled up to the Goodland Hotel and tiny heart eyes appeared on all of our faces immediately. It filled every nook and cranny in my boho-mid-century-modern loving heart and I quickly wished I could call this place home for longer than 48 hours. We check in, dropped our luggage off in our room, and sauntered off to their restaurant happy hour with a side of guacamole. For the next hour or so we sat in the corner of their cozy patio as Chelsea caught us up on her recent travels.

    We roamed around the hotel grounds a bit with a lot of “ooh”s and “ahh”s happeneing and then headed to our room for a bit before heading out to dinner. Abouuuuut an hour into chatting on the bed on our room we decided to forego our dinner reservations and order room service instead to preserve maximal relaxation…

     

    Saturday morning Chelsea and I had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.

    NOTE: Throughout this post I’m going to mention all the yummy places we ate but full disclosure: I was a) way to impatient to photograph it and b) forgot to photograph it. So you can just trust me that it was all super tasty 🙂

    I had the Brioche French Toast and Chelsea had the Fritter Benedict. It was everything we wanted it to be and filled our bellies well. Our friend Kati joined us towards the end of our meal and I took full advantage of not having a little one to tend to as we sat and chatted for the next 45 minutes (things that don’t happen at home…).

    One of my favorite things about staying at the Goodland was that each room comes with a cute little record player and you can rent records out in the lobby. We rented Postal Service because that’s what felt right and it totally made me want to get a record player for my home. It seems so much more quaint and cozy than listening to music on a speaker system, right?

    After breakfast Kati showed us some of her favorite spots around town. She went to college near SB and currently lives there so she really knows all the best places. First stop was Backyard Bowls, an acai place I have heard so much about. Everyone I know who went to school around the area LOVES backyard bowls, and now I know why. I claim it as the best acai bowl I’ve ever had – easily. I got the one named “Backyard Bowl” (imagine that…) the base was a mixture of acai, banana, strawberry and hemp milk – topped with banana, strawberry, blueberry, goji berries, bee pollen(?!) , granola & honey.

    YUM.

    I never wanted it to end.

    After that Kati took us to the SB Mission. As someone who is not a west coast native I needed a bit of explaining about what a mission was exactly, so heres the low down. There are 21 historic california missions, the Santa Barbara Mission is apparently regarded as the most beautiful and they were originally built by the Spanish as “religious outposts” as an attempt to expand christianity to the Native Americans.

    Didn’t know you’d be getting a history lesson today did ya?

    You’re welcome.

    Kati also brought us two eggs from the SB fiestas that happen every August. Get this: one weekend in August the entire city turns into a massive fiesta and you run round cracking confetti eggs over everyones head, strangers and friends alike… what could possibly be more fun?! She was telling me that the floors of streets and stores are just completely covered with confetti all weekend! SIGN ME UP. We got a little taste of the action sitting on the mission’s lawn and now I’m determined to go back in August and really partake in this confetti dream fiesta situation.

    Next stop was the Court House. Seriously, this place is a court house. It almost makes me want jury duty!

    Almost.

    Take the elevator to the top for a beautiful view of the city. (Stairs are also an option but lets get real…) After marveling over the view we strolled around the building for a bit in disbelief over how a court house could be so beautiful.

    After, we went to Olio Pizza for lunch- suuuuper yummy, extremely recommended, you should go.

    OK so this place…it’s called the Lizard’s Mouth. When you first turn on the road to get there it feels more like your heading into Narnia… or kind of like a little troll might pop at any moment. A very winding road took us to a quarter mile rocky hiking path that opened up to the most gorgeous view.

    If you find yourself in Santa Barbara I highly advise you to make time for this. (but maybe not with small kids, that would make me nervous) Its definitely a top-of-the-world type situation when you realize how tiny you actually are.

    See hiking trail info here.

    Sunday we headed over to State Street for a little shopping and had some Mcconnell’s Ice Cream. Chelsea and I bought the same shoes and wore them out of the store because we are kind of ridiculous I guess.

    All-in-all, we had a blast and I’m seriously trying to get back there for the fiestas.

    Food & Drink, Travel

    Vanilla Lavender Fizz Cocktail + Cookie Tags

    Valentines day – love it or hate it it comes around every year and every year I am unprepared. Probably because all my life I sort of glazed over it, when I was little I was only in it for the candy and when I was in high school all it did was remind me that I probably didn’t have a boyfriend. In college I began to welcome the day because I was dating my now husband, Julian, but it was still not an overly exciting day. However, as of recently I have realized that Valentines day doesn’t have to be about a specific KIND of love, romantic love is wonderful but I love and appreciate a lot more people than just Julian and that is just as worth celebrating! This year I am making a vow to be prepared and shower my friends and family with tasty treats. I have THREE exciting things for you here today, my simple yet glorious champagne cocktail, the Vanilla-Lavender Fizz, watercolor tags for you to attach to wrapped up cookies and gifts, and a cookie recipe for  Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies from my good friend Kate Wood, of The Wood and Spoon blog.

    This past weekend I flew coast to coast to spend some time with my besties from college. We met in 2005 and didn’t leave each others side for the next 4 years. Much to our dismay we did have to peel ourselves away from one another at some point and begin our adult lives. Over the past 12 years they have helped me grow into who I am today; they have encouraged my dreams, taught me how to truly care for my friends, and they definitely keep me silly. During the post college years we have all moved to different states, we have different lives, and have made new friends along the way but these ladies have remained such an integral part of my life.  We met up in Flager Beach, Florida; the air was chilly, the sun was warm and the beach was all but deserted. This year I thought ahead and was prepared to celebrate how much I love them all! We layed a blanket on the sand and had a valentine’s day themed beach picnic (I know it’s still January… I’m just over compensating for years of being under prepared). One of these ladies is Kate Wood of the amazing baking blog, The Wood and Spoon. Kate is just as sassy as she is beautiful and she makes magic happen in the kitchen. She and I teamed up for our galentine’s afternoon – we made my Lavender Vanilla Fizz cocktail and ate her Lavender Vanilla Bean sugar cookies. If that doesn’t set the stage for a perfect afternoon with the girls I don’t know what would! We sipped, laughed, devoured cookies and took a series of photos that made the most ridiculous stop motion video.
    Maybe one day if you’re lucky I’ll embarrass us all and post it…

    But, how beautiful are these cookies?! I’ve made my fair share of sugar cookies in my life and usually the dough is finicky and the decorating process takes hourrrrssssss. But GUESS WHAT the dough for this recipe is the easiest sugar cookie dough I have ever worked with – I didn’t have to refrigerate it even once! The dough 100% keeps it’s shape in the oven and Kate shares a decorating technique that is beautiful and super quick! Be careful tasting the dough though because you may end up eating all of it…I probably ate about 5 cookies worth of dough…You can get the recipe and tutorial for them here on the Wood and Spoon Blog.

     

    The Vanilla Lavender Fizz is a delicious concoction consisting of champagne, vanilla bean and lavender bitters – it’s not too sweet, not too floral and bubbly enough to make it feel like you’re celebrating.

     It’s creation was inspired by a drink I had a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to go to a “luxury whiskey bar” in Beverly Hills called Ten Pound, it is one of only two in the entire world! We were led inside in a speakeasy type fashion, the door man took our name and introduced us to the hostess who then led us through a long hall and up a flight of stairs. We ended at an unassuming door which opened to a quaintly sized Old Hollywood feeling bar. The bartender named Cash showed us to our couch on the patio. He explained that he would be preparing our drinks and gave a description of every whiskey and cocktail on the menu. I stuck to the cocktail menu (because I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to straight liquer) and I went for the “Filigree”. He brought it to me and if I wasn’t worried about being able to walk out of the joint I probably would have had 15 of them. Simple, understated and so delicious I needed it to be a part of my cocktail repertoire, so, I created the Lavender Vanilla Fizz

    Champagne – use one that you wouldn’t mind drinking straight

    Lavender Bitters – I used Scrappys

    Vanilla Bean simple syrup – like this one or make your own

    Sugar cubes

    Add 1 tsp vanilla bean simple syrup & 4-5 drops of lavender bitters (a bit less than 1/8 tsp) to champagne glass.

    Pour champagne into glass

    drop sugar cube into glass

    Thats all there is to it! Enjoy with those you want to love on and be sure to tell them all that you appreciate about them!