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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!

    Family, Travel

    Margot’s 2nd Christmas & Embracing the Unexpected.

    The thrill of hope // the weary world rejoices.
    Reflecting on the wonder of Christmas and baby Jesus born to save the world. The hope brought to those who believed- their King had finally come. Would I have been humble enough to worship a baby? I sure hope so. Sweet Jesus- thank you for bringing your light into our weary world. ❤️

    Hellooooo Christmas 2016! This year we spent Christmas at my in-laws home in Tennessee with Julian’s family, it was Margot’s second christmas and the first time she actually cared about it. Because of Julian’s work schedule we haven’t gone back east for Christmas in 5 years! I can’t even believe that’s a fact, but it is. This year we finally packed our bags (trying not to forget any of Margot’s 600 required things) and jetted off to a cozy Christmas in the south.

    Julian’s dad has quite the green thumb and has a whole garden in the backyard. Most evenings he’d go out with the kids and pick our salad for dinner.

    For how often we travel you’d think that Margot has gotten used to sleeping in new places, but unfortunately she still doesn’t love it. Not to mention we are often crossing 3 times zones and she’s pretty jet lagged. So, while she sleeps well at home, she doesn’t usually sleep well on vacation. The third night we were in Tennessee Margot went down at 9pm and woke up at 10pm hysterical. We could tell there was no hope for her settling on her own so we just got in bed and let her come in with us. I was still jet lagged myself, so at 10:30pm I was wide awake in bed. Then in the still, pitch black silence I hear a giggle, feel Margot’s head lift and then hear …. “Hiiiiii!,” at a volume loud enough to wake dad. When I looked at her she wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me a big kiss on the lips. I wanted her to sleep so badly but in that moment I couldn’t help but laugh at her lack of self-awareness and volume control. We giggled together and I flipped the lamp on. The three of us played on the bed for a few minutes. Shortly after, I flipped the light out and she snuggled right up to me – her head in that cuddle nook between my neck and shoulder – she shut her little eyes and fell asleep until morning. Yes, it was way past bedtime and, yes, she didn’t get a full night of sleep that night but I’ll take some unexpected quality time whenever I can get it. It was definitely a lesson in embracing life even when it is unexpected and doesn’t go as planned.

    More times than I’d like to admit I get so wrapped up in what I think should be happening that I forget to find the joy in what is happening. Maybe it was because I wasn’t all that tired anyways or maybe just because I’ve learned not to expect a lot out of traveling but for some reason, that night I was able to relax,  stop worrying  and just take time to enjoy the presence of my baby girl and it ended up turning into a memory I’ll cherish forever 🙂

    Finally Christmas morning!! Oddly enough Margot’s favorite word over the past few weeks has been “bah-pahh” which I have come to understand as “backpack”. I think she loves the word because she equates it with the snacks that are usually inside… but she calls every single bag a “backpack” and wants to rummage through it. Without knowing this my sister-in-law got Margot the cutest little unicorn backpack for Christmas. When Margot pulled it out of the bag she twinkled brighter than those lights on the tree and the excitement exuded from her eyes as she gathered all of her energy to project “BAH-PAHH! BAH-PAHH!!” bouncing up and down. It was her very own backpack and she could barely believe it. I secured it around her shoulders and she began dancing around shouting her beloved word. I always knew Christmas with kids was going to be magic but I could never have predicted the amount of joy that welled up inside of me in that moment. I would literally buy every single bah-pahh in America to see those 30 seconds of excitement just one more time.

    I was a full week of family, hot tea, and yummy food & it was about as peaceful as you can get with 3 kids under 3 running around. It was just the right amount of chaos and equal parts tantrums, time-outs and cousin kisses.

    Thanksgiving & Easter have always been my favorite holidays but now that kiddos are involved Christmas might be starting to give them a run for their money…