Santa Catalina

DSC_0106A couple of weeks ago Klayton and I took a day and went to Catalina for a mini vacation. It is such a great spot to get away for the night because it only takes 45 minutes to get there by ferry so you can really get the most of your time, which is exactly what we did! Our ferry left at 6:15 in the morning so we really had a full day on the island. Lots and lots of photos below!

DSC_1013 DSC_1017 DSC_0001We went to breakfast as soon as we got there because it was very early and we couldn’t do much else at the time. That tiny creamer cup served as my coffee cup because i’m a huge fan of iced coffee but not so much the hot stuff ( I had a traumatic incident with Mexican hot chocolate being way too hot when I was a young girl and I still haven’t gotten over that yet) and Klayton always wants me to have coffee with him so we came to a solution to cool down the coffee quickly ; )

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Look at that handsome face!DSC_0046It was fun to get there so early so that we could see everything calm and mellow before everyone came out for the day!DSC_0010 DSC_0004 DSC_0052Right now tons and tons of these tiny crab/lobster (I’m not entirely sure) have been washing up in the mornings and the beach was covered in them (they were in the water too!).

DSC_0044 We pretty much spent our entire day at the Descanso Beach Club which was amazing. They charge $2 to sit on the beach for a day pass, but it is so worth it because everything you could possibly need is right there! It is also right at the base of tons of Catalina activities including the zip lines.DSC_0068 DSC_0080 DSC_0086 DSC_0065 DSC_0083 DSC_0098 DSC_0100Not only did we get a nice vacation we were also lucky enough to run into our wonderful friends while we were there and spend some time with them. If you are ever looking for a quick trip from Southern California I definitely recommend going. We are coming back for you soon Catalina!

A trip home!

DSC_0918Escaping to the peace and quiet of my hometown is one of my favorite things to do. The drive up from San Diego is very long and boring but once I arrive I instantly remember why the trip is worth it. I went with my good friend Brooke a few weeks ago so we could see our families and get away for a few days. We stayed at her parents house which was such a treat since i’ve known them since I was only 3 years old. Lots of photos below of our time home!

DSC_0766The view from Brooke’s parents backyard is absolutely breath taking, all you see are pine trees and oak trees for miles. I always forget how quiet home is until I get there and it is so wonderful to just hear the breeze and the birds chirping for a change.

DSC_0777This is Elvis, Brooke has had him for 16 years and despite being run over by a car a few years back he is just as handsome, healthy, and loving as ever. Such a sweetheart! DSC_0806We got the privilege of driving around Brooke’s moms convertible bug, it was so nice to have that warm summer breeze blowing through our hair. Oakhurst in the summer makes me extremely nostalgic for many different chapters of  my life because it has always been my favorite time of year.DSC_0813DSC_0816This awful drought we are in is making the mountains extremely prone to fires. We have already had over 3 this summer and it breaks my heart that everything is so dry and dead. DSC_0821DSC_0921For years Oakhurst has only had a few places to eat lunch, and a few summers back South Gate opened up and it is just wonderful. All the food is so delicious and it is so great to see a business in town doing so well! Oh, I also got to eat there with my wonderful grandparents which always makes everything better! DSC_0843Our first day there we were going to visit Brooke’s brother and his wife and their adorable twin daughters and we were asked to pick up some chicken feed from the feed store on the way there which is where I ran into this pretty lady! She was such a sweet cat and wanted nothing but attention and to be pet.

DSC_0875DSC_0889These beautiful twins! It is so fun for me to see my best friends brother being a dad and seeing how happy his daughters are! Honestly, two of the happiest and sweetest girls i’ve ever seen. Just look at those smiles! DSC_0914And an obligatory photo of their sweet kitty. Can you tell how much I love animals yet? They are just my favorite!

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DSC_0825On our second day we spent the entire day at my aunt and uncles house swimming in the pool and enjoying the wonderful summer day. They have the greatest view from their house and the pool is so refreshing during these hot summer months! DSC_0937

DSC_0969My mom arrived early in the morning on my last day so we went to my grandparents house for dinner. For as long as I can remember my mom has cut my grandmas hair and she was definitely ready because she had the scissors and a towel out before we even got there ; ) such wonderful women!

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We are a big board game family and most of my fondest memories come from sitting around the table with my family playing hours of games, talking, and laughing. I am so happy that we all still enjoy board games because I know I will never stop loving them or wanting to play them with my family! It was such a wonderful and special end to too short of a trip. I can’t wait to see you soon Oakhurst, I know it won’t be long.

Happy Birthday America!

IMG_9576As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the Fourth of July! I think it is so much fun to be patriotic and celebrate how much we love this great country! I started off my day with a bike ride with my good friend Megan while Klayton was at work. When we set out we had no particular destination in mind we were just riding around enjoying the beautiful weather and saying “Happy 4th of July!” to every person we passed, it was a lot of fun.IMG_9582 We had plans to go on Klayton’s grandfather’s sail boat after he got home from work so once he got home we hopped in the car and headed out to the harbor. The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too hot and it was still partly sunny despite the fact that the clouds were rolling in in full force! Lots of pictures below!

IMG_9586The sail boat is absolutely stunning (they take such great care of it) and the boats name and paint job is perfect for celebrating the 4th!

IMG_9588See what I mean about the clouds? They weren’t bad at all considering we usually have cloudy and gray July Fourth’s down in Southern California, so that little bit of blue sky was plenty for me!

IMG_9587 IMG_9602I love seeing all of the American flags everywhere, it is so festive!

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IMG_9596                                                          ^such a goof ball!^

IMG_9593 IMG_9597Such a beautiful interior, I love this nautical clock. (sorry for the lower quality photo, I was an air head and forgot the camera!)

IMG_9603 IMG_9605We barbecued bratwursts and had potato salad and baked beans for dinner and it was wonderful, a perfect feast for the Fourth. We finished the evening off with this extremely rich (and sinfully delicious) 6 layer red velvet cake that I made using a recipe from the newest issue of Food Network Magazine which is my absolute favorite food magazine. Unfortunately Klayton had work the following morning at 5 am so we missed the fireworks but we still had a great time nonetheless. I hope you all had wonderful and safe holidays!

4th of July lanterns

The Fourth of July reminds me of all of my favorite things; food, friends, family, and most importantly warm summer nights filled with the fondest memories. Not only do I love all of the activities and fun things that go along with the Fourth of July, but I love seeing american flags and other festive decorations pop up around neighborhoods and cities. Decorating for holidays always makes them more fun and memorable so when I realized that I had no patriotic decorations out for the fourth I decided to make these fun lanterns that really bring out the spirit of the holiday.

DSC_0678These beauties could be my favorite DIY project to date!

DSC_0290There aren’t too many items needed to create the lanterns and the materials are relatively inexpensive which is great. I started with one half-gallon mason jar and 2 quart sized mason jars, scotch painters tape, sand paper (220 grit), some sponge brushes, and some americana decor chalky finish paint. The colors I used were romance, everlasting, and legacy. Note: They were out of ‘legacy’ when I went to Michaels the first time around so I ended up buying the craft smart regular paint, but I did not use it because ‘legacy’ came in so I am unsure if the blue would turn out the same with the craft smart paint.

DSC_0293The first step is to add stickers to the jars so that there can be holes for the light to come through once you paint. On the pint sized mason jars I used round stickers and on the half-gallon I used small star stickers.

DSC_0586Next, you will paint all three jars with the ‘Everlasting’ paint ensuring that it is completely dry between coat applications. It only took me two coats until I was happy with the look of them but you can adjust based on preference.

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When looking for materials I couldn’t find any star stickers that were large enough for the white stars and ended up finding these sticky foam stars which worked wonderfully. They were very sticky, but were still easy to peel off at the end and didn’t take any paint with them which was great!

DSC_0589I ended up only doing one coat of the ‘legacy’ because I prefer a more rustic worn-out look. Also, I would like to share the easiest method I found to removing the smaller star stickers after 3 layers of paint because they proved to be a little tricky to get off at first. I found that just using a needle to pry under the corner of the sticker lifted it off enough to be able to pull the whole sticker off.

DSC_0670I then moved on to adding my painters tape to the smaller jars. This part is a little more tricky because you need to make sure your tape is even around the whole jar so you don’t end up with uneven stripes. I used two strips of tape and just made thick stripes, but if you prefer you can make multiple smaller stripes.

DSC_0677After three coats of ‘Romance’ the red seemed just right, and again I used the needle method to remove the circle stickers.

DSC_0678Once everything was completely dry I gave the jars a very light rub down with the sand paper just to make them a little more rustic.

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I have one tea candle per mason jar but if you prefer for them to give off more light you can definitely put two or three candles per jar. I love the way these jars turned out and the soft glow they give off. These jars will definitely be resurfacing every Fourth of July in our house!

A wonderful stay-cation!

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Hi all! Klayton and I had spring break at school a couple of weeks ago and we really wanted to go on a trip, unfortunately we did not plan far enough in advance so we were only able to do an overnight. Thankfully, we live in beautiful San Diego County so there are plenty of things to do on a quick stay-cation,  so we decided to spend the night in Coronado because we love it! We stayed at the beautiful Loew’s Resort which is a little farther down on Coronado closer to imperial beach but we had such a wonderful time.

IMG_8573We started the day off with lunch at the Coronado Brewing Company, we both have been before and their food is delicious (and of course their beers are too)! Klayton got a fun beer flight which gives you the ability to taste 5 different beers if you are indecisive like we are, or you can get classic draft beers as well. If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend checking them out!

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Once we checked in we decided to go spend some time in the pool and hot tub, unfortunately it was cloudy on the day we went but since we are already weather spoiled San Diegan’s we didn’t mind too much. We still very much enjoyed relaxing in the pool and hot tub. What’s nice about the Loew’s resort is that there are 3 different pools and 2 different hot tubs, one of each are strictly for adults which is nice if you just want to relax in the quiet.

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After we finished our swim we decided to go into town for some coffee and to go to this neat candy store we had been to once before. We got coffee at this delicious coffee shop called Clayton’s and I was kicking myself once I got home for not snapping a photo. Then we went just up the street to the Coronado Candy Factory which is tiny, but so awesome. Klayton and I both love sour candy so that is what we had our eyes on but they have a variety of great things like homemade caramel apples, peanut butter cups, and all sorts of delicious treats!

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After we returned to the resort, we stayed in for the rest of the night, they have pretty much anything you could need or think of there which is awesome. They had 4 or 5 ping pong tables by the pool and I think Klayton and I were surprised at how terrible we are, it was pretty bad, but we had a blast hitting the ball off of whatever surface it landed on so we had fun anyways!

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There wasn’t too much of a sunset since it was so cloudy, but the sky never ceases to amaze me in some way and that night it was that awesome crack of light bursting through those dark grey clouds that really caught my attention.

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There was this awesome area off the back side of the resort that was right on the bay with a view of the bridge and all of down town San Diego. They had these plush comfortable chairs as well as fire pits to sit around and Klayton and I just sat out there and looked at the city and chatted, it was so lovely and enjoyable.

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Even though we were on a stay-cation we were both pretty tired still so we decided to do room service for dinner and just relax to watch some tv, that macaroni and cheese sure was delicious! We had a wonderful time on our over night trip and really wish it could have been for longer, but that is what next time is for!

Mamma Mia!

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Italian cuisine  has always been my favorite. There is something about it that is so comforting and always reminds me of home. I have been looking for a bolognese recipe for quite awhile now and I found this wonderful recipe from a Stanley Tucci cook book so I thought it would be perfect to share! This recipe is a little heartier than most bolognese’s I have had and was almost more like a stew, but it was delicious nonetheless and the recipe was quite simple.

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The first thing you want to do is finely chop the vegetables (you can also put them in the food processor but make sure they keep some of their integrity and don’t turn it into a paste). At this point you also want to chop your pancetta as finely as possible. Note: If you can find it in your local store I highly recommend purchasing pre-chopped pancetta because it really is tough to get it as small as you need. I decided to chop it myself but later came to regret it when I couldn’t get it as small as I wanted, so save yourself the aggravation and buy the pre-chopped stuff if you can!

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Next, you will heat your oil and butter over med-low being sure not to burn your butter! Then, add your chopped pancetta and cook it just so it softens up a bit but is not fully cooked. After, add all of your vegetables and cook them down for about 10-12 minutes.

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Next you’re going to add the ground beef and stir it making sure the meat catches the bottom of the pan and browns evenly, about 5-6 minutes.

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Then, season with salt and pepper and add in the wine bringing it to a simmer to ensure that all of the alcohol gets cooked out.

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Next, you will add in the tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme and stir to combine. Reduce the heat so it is gently simmering, about 5-10 minutes, then add in the milk. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 1 to 1 and a half hours.

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Here is the final product! Serve over whichever pasta you choose, although pappardelle or linguini work best. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and flat leaf Italian parsley if you choose. Enjoy!

Ingredients:                                                                    

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce pancetta finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/3 cups red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme (I used 3 because I love thyme)
  • One 14 ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound pasta
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. You can also pulse them in a food processor if you would like but make sure they still maintain some integrity and don’t turn them into a paste. Put the vegetables in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan heat the butter and olive oil over low to medium heat making sure not to burn the butter. Add the pancetta just to soften it, but don’t cook it through. Then add the vegetable mixture and stir to coat the vegetables, sweat down the vegetables for about 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally. Then, add the ground beef crumbling it with your fingers as you add it to ensure that it is broken apart. You want the beef to sear and become a nice brown color so make sure you are stirring well so all of the meat gets browned.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, add the wine and bring it to a simmer to cook out the alcohol. Next, add the bay leaves, thyme, and tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until reduced, about 5-10 minutes. Add the milk. Finally, cover your pan and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

CHRISTMAS AT THE BEACH!

IMG_7814As I have previously mentioned Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday. Klayton and I have lived at the beach for over 3 years and at first I hated the fact that it wasn’t cold at all around Christmas time but lately I am warming up to it more. So far, this holiday season has been one of my favorites to date, my wonderful dad and brother are staying with us for 10 days from Florida and we are having the greatest time. We have been doing nothing but having fun together doing things like playing tennis, rock climbing, walking the dog around the lagoon, and tonight we went down to the beach and watched the sunset while we played speedminton which is one of my favorite games.

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^Take a look at that breath taking sunset! Christmas at the beach is not too shabby!^

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^Nothing beats playing speedminton at sunset.^

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Take a look at that handsome guy, I just love his smile. I am so thankful for my family and there is no other way I would rather spend my time then with all of these wonderful people. Christmas is such a wonderful holiday and I am getting used to christmas at the beach. Happy holidays everyone!