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Travel Guide: Wine Country, Day 1

3.03.2015

Last week hubs celebrated a birthday... but not just any old birthday, the big 30... T . H . I . R . T . Y ! It's kind of nuts to me because firstly, I met him when he was about 19 or 20 and just a boy and secondly, because, well because it also means that 30's knocking on my door shortly after... eeek! I wanted to do something extra special and memorable, after all 30 is some kind of milestone in adulthood right?!  I'd heard about wine country being a must see and that scenic drive along the coast on route 1 fit in nicely so that was that. Also wine tasting just seemed fancy and sophisticated and so much better than drinking your face off like you did in your twenties right?! Only we may have done that too the night before and so that explains the In and Out you see pictured up there. But in all seriousness, I just wanted to do something for hubs that I knew he would love and remember for a life time which is hard to come up with when you've been together as long as we have. So just in case the trip wan't enough, there may have also been a donkey piƱata involved. Do I know my hubs or what?!

EAT / Driving the more direct route up I-5, we decided to try and make our first stop somewhere note worthy, about halfway, and that served food/coffee of some sort. After doing some research, hubs luckily found Harris Ranch which ended up ticking all three of the boxes so we were sold. The restaurant turned out to be the cutest of ranches, all decked out with pretty much wood everything, roaring fireplaces, and mesmerizing chandeliers. It felt so warm and inviting, the perfect cozy spot to take the edge off from the drive and unwind. Since they happened to be known for their reserve beef, hubs and I decided that steak was just a must. I ordered the New York Striploin (pictured above) with possibly the best garlic mash not made by my mom that I ever did try! Hubs settled on the T-bone and was equally satisfied. If you're a meat l over, this spot is definitely worth checking out. We picked up a bottle of their house cabernet sauvignon to enjoy later and hubs got some "real" sweets from the gift shop. That's british speak for actually nice, hard candy (like they do back home) and not the overly processed junk he normally finds over here. Basically it's what I would call fancy or specialty candy! Oh and I also got my coffee fix which was honestly, the smoothest blend served over ice (yes ice!) coffee cubes... it was all I could ask for and then some.

STAY / Did I mention this trip was poorly planned on my part and while I like to call it spur of the moment because that makes it sound more romantic and me more carefree, it was stressful and I'm not. But that's just because I'm the type that needs everything mapped out, planned out, and outlined before I do, well pretty much anything and everything. Unfortunately, work got in the way of any of that being accomplished and so, yea. That's where airbnb intervenes and more specifically, Pamela's cozy garden studio comes in to save the day (trip). Hubs and I are huge fans of airbnb, H . U . G.  E ! We're really big on having unique  and local experiences when exploring new cities that includes accommodation. So far we haven't had a stay we didn't love (or hosts we didn't love for that matter) and so it's safe to say we're hooked. This place was no exception and I was literally booking the trip the morning of (I know!), coordinating with Pamela while hubs slept off some of his hangover. We arrived kind of late and didn't get to do much exploring that night but were happy to have a comfy bed to fall into and welcomed the 2 cans of craft beer that were left in the refrigerator for us, so thoughtful!

In the morning we woke up to soft sunlight coming in through the double french doors and a beautiful garden view filled with the loveliest of flowers. Oh and that pup up there is Puna, she also welcomed us warmly. Coffees were drank routinely right out there on the front porch, wrapped up in blankets and accompanied by some pretty awesome ukulele jam sessions. Nights we enjoyed under a sea of stars in the steamy hot tub, sipping on delicious reds and bubbly champaign. Not a bad way to start and end a few days hu? Also Pamela left us an amazing list of all the best local places to eat, drink, shop, explore, etc. so our  days were filled to the brim thanks to her (and no thanks to me and my lack of planning). So in the end, it all worked out perfectly and that goes to say something about last minute planning then I suppose. Still stressful as hell (for me) but nice to know that things will fall into place even when you don't where those "places" should be. As for Mr. Brooklyn, we had to leave our little fur ball behind but he was in good hands over at Animal Kingdom... seriously he loves it there more than he does at home I think! Highly recommended if you're a local to Santa Monica and ever need to board your pet... because we've become one of those LA couples that does things like boarding their pets... and he also eats organic!


***Today I am thankful for Beyonce (my nissan) that so lovingly got us to and from on this trip... she actually quite rocked it!***

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Snippets Of Love...

2.17.2015

 ^^^for hubs if you didn't already guess that^^^
^^^old school style & snail mail too!^^^
 ^^^these forever stamps were bought f.o.r.e.v.e.r. ago^^^
 ^^^i kinda went all out^^^

I walked into Paper Source early one day in January to buy my new 2015 wall calender and quickly noticed an array of red, pink, and hearts. Everywhere I looked, hearts! I suddenly remembered how much earlier holiday and novelty items made their appearances on the shelves in the US compared to in the UK and although I was momentarily overwhelmed, I quickly gathered myself and thought "alright, you got this!" Oh how smug I felt walking out of the shop that early day in January with not just hub's Valentine's gift and card, but other goodies for my friends and loved ones too! I had a plan you see, a plan to spread Valentine's cheer to all those I love but live so far away from. And why stop there?! Surely my co-workers (well some of them anyways) deserved a little loving too right? To be that obnoxious friend that leaves you covered in confetti hearts overspilling from snail mail. Or be that co-worker that leaves a deliciously sweet lollipop stuck to the old school kind of Valentine's Day card, fully knowing that you have given up sugar and that this will push you over the edge. Finally a reason to use all the other crafty crap from the dollar section at Target that I've been hoarding in a box that hubs accuses me of never going in (but now I finally did so take that love)! My idea was simple and pure genius... to take my time and let my creative spirit freely handcraft each and every single card, to make each as uniquely special as can be. I had plenty of time after all, it was only January...

Fast forward to February 12th and there I was, hand cramping from all the excruciating back to back writing, because of course I procrastinated, and because, well, who the hell hand writes things anymore anyways?! My hand was out of shape and I was running out of time. Confetti hearts could be found all over the place and stuck to the most unlikeliest of places. My hands were stained a pinkish-red and I may have eaten a lollipop or five. By now, I'm sure the first of my Valentine's Day cards should be arriving to their designated owners... overshooting the holiday by 3-5 days depending on where in the country they were going. Also it doesn't help that presidents day kind of sabotaged me with an extra no snail mail day and I didn't even get the day off work!

Anyways, Happy belated Valentine's Day to all my loves, near and far, and to you lovely readers as well. My co-workers caved and the sweet gesture bought me a few favors here and there. Overall I am going to consider this a win of sorts. I'm feeling ambitious this year and maybe, just maybe, I may even try to finally send out the first set of Christmas cards from the Beales... only 5 years after we wed!

***Today I am thankful for reasons like Valentines Day to indulge a little while bringing smiles to others***

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A Lovely Month: January Edition

2.03.2015

>>>follow along all month here!<<<

1 / morning yoga routine... 2 / quarantine head quarters... 3 / but first, coffee... 4 / kitty sold separately... 5 / gangs all here! 6 / smoothie kick... 7 / morning person view... 8 / reunited at last! 9 / rose bowl hunting 10 / wellie time... 11 / hubs found a treasure! 11 / puddle reflection 12 / tall & skinnies... 13 / morning cup 14 / yoga buddy 15 / makes me happy 16 / neutrals gal 17 / smoothies for two 18 / good reads 19 / quitting my day job! 20 / late night baking 21 / nap with a view 22 / iced coffees for two 23 / #LAwinter 24 / details... 25 / ukulele time! 26 / a designer's necessities... 27 / cardio barre selfie... 28 / like london but not... 29 / trouble... 30 / don't mess with my flowers! 31 / love nest...

***Today I am thankful for my bright blue iphone, though I might not love the color (or model) at least it works and takes great pics!***

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Happy Birthday Papi!

1.23.2015

i'll always be a daddy's girl...

Happy (a day late) birthday to the kindest, most generous, giving, and (sometimes) patient man I know. I have lived my life up until this point with you in mind as I make decisions and carve my own way on this crazy journey we call life. Everything you've taught me is engraved in my mind and organically put into practice on a daily basis. Sometimes I hear your voice in my head as I'm about to make not the smartest of choices... like that time I decided to take in a cat off the streets in the midst of a crazy work schedule, a strained marriage, and the fact that technically, I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment. "No te compliques tu vida Jackeline" which is what you call me when you're being serious or I'm in trouble. I can probably count on my hands the times you've called me by my full name and it's not because I've always been a good girl, it's because that's just how understanding you are. I turn to you for advice and guidance or sometimes just a simple hug will do the trick. I'm never homesick until I think about the distance between us (and mami!) and sometimes find myself at a loss for words to describe just how important you are to me. Even now I write this in english only because it makes it a little bit easier to express the love I feel for you. I will continue to live my life with you in mind, hoping that I am always able to make you proud. I wish so badly that I could have been there to celebrate your special day, and although I may never move back to Miami (never say never) I can at least promise you that I'm figuring out a way to move back to the east coast and closer to home. I love you today and always, happy birthday papi! 

***Today I am thankful for my papi, he would move heaven and earth for me if he could and for that I am ever grateful***

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Today I...

1.21.2015

random picture of a candle just because...

- woke up early and did my morning yoga followed by some much needed deep stretches and it felt good!

- gave Brooklyn some extra scratches because he was extra needy and I tried my best to soothe him...

- placed kisses all over hub's sleepy face before I left for work and told him how much I loved him... 

- was stuck in traffic for about an hour where I jammed out to Taylor Swift on repeat...

- dropped my phone in the toilet, quickly reached in and grabbed (ewe!) and dried it off but it died anyways...

- did some sketching at work that had seemed daunting but actually ended up being quite nice and therapeutic...

- daydreamed about quitting my day job and starting up a folk band with little k and hubs, if only...

- stepped away from my desk and took an actual lunch break with a fellow co-worker and it was nice...

- was inspired and started dreaming up amazing things to come and it felt so liberating to be creative again...

- had to take deep breaths at work because sometimes things get frustrating and I have to remind myself to just let it go...

- splurged on a $30 bottle of wine (I know!) because it had a cool label and yes, I buy my wine based on it's packaging...

- got home eager to practice my ukulele and can now almost play Sunday Morning (Maroon 5) the whole way through! 

- danced around the kitchen to Fleetwood Mac while kind of helping hubs cook a delicious meal...

- blogged again (yay!) and thought up this quirky (I hope) new series just for you all...

- made some secret promises to myself and made a resolution to live the life I want to love and making my own strides...

***Today I am thankful for this life... it's short and precious and I intend to make the most of it!***

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