Where the heart is…

Where the heart is

Sooooo in my last post California Lovin’ I briefly talked about how sometimes big changes happen in life, and they fall into place so effortlessly that you just can’t help but think “This is totally what I’m suppose to be doing in life right now, I’m where I’m meant to be!”  Well the winds are changing direction over here and blowing us up to SEATTLE!!!  And so far it’s been pretty smooth sailing!  That’s right, thanks to some amazing opportunities brought to us from the PNW, we are returning back to our roots and starting a new exciting chapter in our lives closer to friends and family.

Over the past year or so Seattle has been tugging on my heart strings, trying to bring me back.  With my parents getting older, and other parts of our family expanding, being closer to family is something I’ve been yearning for.  At the same time, things have been going really well for my boyfriend Joel and I down here in California, so the idea of leaving has been hard to sit with as well.  So instead of fussing over a decision and stressing out over if I made the right decision or not, I decided to just continue living life and wait for a sign.  I can be stubborn sometimes though, and need a VERY clear sign to say “HEY YOU, TRACI!  IT’S TIME TO GO THIS WAY NOW!”  Knowing that this decision wouldn’t be made by just me, I needed a sign that spoke to both Joel and I.  And that sign recently showed up in the form of incredible job opportunity for Joel.  It wasn’t something he was looking for, but when it presented itself, we both knew it was our sign.  This new place of employment would not only move him forward in big and exciting ways, but would also bring us HOME.  

Within the next few weeks we will be packing up everything we own into a moving truck and doing a little road trip back to the PNW!  Follow along on Instagram and see our adventure once we hit the road! To new beginnings…

Cheers!

Traci

 

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California Lovin’

California Lovin'

A question I’m asked quite frequently is, how my boyfriend Joel and I got together, along with, “How did you guys end up in California?”  Today I’m going to share those answers with you in one swoop, as they pretty much blend together in a “stars aligned” type of story.  But as a little precursor to this story, you have to know that I’m totally a believer in “everything happens for a reason”, “blessings in disguise” and that if a big change in your life is really suppose to happen, everything will fall into place.  When things fall into place so effortlessly, you can’t help but feel that you are EXACTLY where you are suppose to be in life at that moment.  Like ” YES, I’m meant to be here, I’m on the right track!” and it feels AMAZING!  So on that note, here’s my story!

Joel and I met a lot earlier in life than many people expect.  I was 17, he was 19 and we met at what I like to call a “Best Buy Party”.  Yes that’s right, like the electronics store, Best Buy.  These gatherings weren’t AT Best Buy, but they were occupied by and thrown by several Best Buy employees.  I had a close girlfriend who worked there and I would always accompany her to these shindigs.  Joel also worked at this Best Buy and these events just so happened to be thrown at his house that he shared with a few other employees.  Sooooo that’s basically how we met!  But there’s more to the story than just that. When I was in high school, I was SUPER shy around people I didn’t know, so these gatherings were kind of torture for me, but I really wanted to break myself of this shyness so I continued to go.  Right away I thought Joel was sooooo cute with his super bleached, almost white hair, pierced ears, and the fact that he played drums.  I’ve always been a sucker for the alternative, tattooed, pierced guys, that at first glanced seem a bit hard and bad boy-ish, but in real life are total sweet hearts…you know the type right? Well Joel totally fit the bill in my eyes, minus the tattoos.  Being that I was so shy though, it would take all courage I had to just just say HI to him!  He would always say hi back maybe a “good to see you” and then continue on his way.  And that’s it!  I always hoped he would strike up a conversation with me, but it just never happened.

After I graduated high school I moved away for college.  After about a semester I realized that particular college just wasn’t for me, and I moved back to my home town to figure things out.  And guess what, when I got back, those old Best Buy parties were still happening…. so I went, and all of a sudden Joel started talking to me! (I came to find out that the reason he didn’t really talk to me before was that, even though he thought I was super cute, I was still in high school, and he didn’t want to seem like “that guy” who dated younger chicks in high school.  This made me go “awwwwww” in my head.  I thought that was pretty respectable of him, and also pretty sweet.)  Pretty quickly we started dating, but two weeks later we stopped because he was moving away… 7 HOURS away, to finish school at a University and in my eyes our new relationship just would survive.  I mean come on, I was 19, he was 21! We were YOUNG!  The decision was mutual and we stayed friends.  Fast forward a few years, we both dated other people, and when Joel finished university he moved to Orange County, California to play music.

Now you’re probably thinking, “How the heck did you guys reconnect?!”  Well it just so happened a really close friend of mine was getting married in Dana Point, Ca.  There was no way I was going to miss this wedding and once I realized that Dana Point was in Orange County, I thought of Joel.  During my early twenties I shook a lot of my shyness away, so when I realized that this wedding was near where Joel was living, I just simply called him up and asked him if he’d like to my “plus one”.  We ended up having a great time together at the wedding and also hit up Disneyland while I was there.  So much fun!  About a week later after arriving back home in Seattle I received a call from Joel, saying that he had been looking at plane tickets to Washington and was wondering if he could come visit me.  Of course I said yes, and once again we had a really nice long weekend together.  A few days later we were texting and I flat out said “I want you to you to be my boyfriend!”  Lucky for me he responded with, “I want you to be my girlfriend!”  And that was that, we were officially a couple.

We spent the next year dating long distance.  Every month either I would fly down for a long weekend or he would fly up, and we would chat on the phone for hours every night as well as watch tv shows together via cell phone.  About 6 months into our relationship Joel asked me if I would move to California.  At that time, I just wasn’t ready.  It wasn’t that I didn’t feel ready in our relationship, but rather that I wasn’t ready to leave my life in Seattle.  I lived in a hip area in a studio condo of my own and just absolutely loved my independent life in the city.  In the following month though, that all changed.  All my girlfriend started getting engaged or in serious relationships and suddenly not many of them wanted to hang out anymore, they just wanted to be with their men.  Which I totally understood, being young and in love can do that!  But at the same time it kind of sucked for me with my guy being in a different state and now no girlfriends to hang out with.

Next, I started being really disappointed my job, for MANY reasons that I won’t get into, but I was simply no longer happy there.  In early October I  had decided that I would stay until after Christmas and then I would move to California.  Although about a week after making this decision I actually decided that I had had enough and that instead of waiting, I was going to put in my two weeks notice at the end of the week.  This was a Monday, on Tuesday my boss called me in his office and explained to me that things with the business weren’t going well and he had made the decision to cut out my position and shuffle employees and hours around to cut costs. He said that he was very sorry, but would give me 3 weeks severance pay and write me a very good recommendation letter.  Normally this would have been devastating news, but considering I had planned on giving my two weeks notice just days later, it was the best news EVER!  Not only did I not have to have that awkward conversation of putting my two weeks notice in, but I was also getting paid for 3 weeks after I left, which I of course I would not have received if I had left on my own.

My next step was to break the news to my parents.  We are a pretty close family and I thought for sure they were going to FREAK!  Except that didn’t happen, they were very supportive and said that it would be an amazing experience for me. On top of that my dad said he was going to drive my car down for me, so I could just fly down and get settled in.  So I packed up the biggest suitcase I owned, stuffed everything else that would fit into my car, and off to California I went!  I remember landing and going to the outdoor baggage claim, the amazingly warm breeze blowing against my skin, and seeing Joel waiting for me in the distance….this was now MY LIFE, and I couldn’t have been more excited!!!

As you can see through this story things really did fall into place time and time again for me, and there’s even more!!  Once I was settled, about a week and a half in, I decided to start sending out my resume and cover letter.  This particular day I put my resume up onto a sight where employers go to look for employees.  2 hours later I received a call asking me if I could come in for an interview the next day.  Within the next couple days I started working from them and I’ve been there ever since.  BOOM!  And there you have it my friends my (possibly painfully long, but hopefully enjoyable) story of how Joel and I met, how we ended up in California, and how when somethings are meant to be, the universe will just MAKE THEM HAPPEN!  I know I have seriously been blessed through these experiences and I’m incredibly grateful.

To those of you who made it through my whole story, HIGH FIVE!  You rock!  And for those of you who had always been curious, I hope you had fun reading our story!  Until next time…

Cheers!

Traci

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Train to Santa Barbara (part three)

We started our last day in Santa Barbara the same way we started our first, with a walk to the beach!  From there we went to brunch at a spot above the marina, and that’s where we spotted “Lil’ Toot.”  We found out that Lil’ Toot is a water taxi that will take you from the marina to the far side of the pier, and vice versa.  Our next planned location was right off the pier, so it was perfect!  Plus after seeing this adorable little boat and hearing its little “toot” we felt we HAD to go on it! When in Rome, am I right?!

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Off the pier was a bike rental spot.  It had beach cruisers, tandem bikes, four person carriages, and our choice, the “Deuce Coupe!”  It was a low riding, two person, three wheeled bike with a big basket in the back.  It was super unique and perfectly fit us AND our luggage!  We were able to ride along the boardwalk next to the beach and then continue on a large bike trail that took us up near the Santa Barbara Zoo.  It was a really fun way to see a different part of the city.

Train to Santa Barbara

Once our biking excursion was finished, it was time to get back to where it all began, the train station.  When our train arrived, there was just enough time to grab a cheese plate and juice from the train lounge, pop some bubbly, and settle into our seats before watching the sunset along the coastline.  Finally the coastal train view I’d been waiting for!  It was a tranquil ending to an exciting weekend.

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

Train to Santa Barbara

So what are you doing this weekend?  I hope this post has inspired you to take a weekend getaway for yourself sometime.  Maybe you’ll visit somewhere you can fly to, or maybe just a friends house in the next town over.  No matter where you end up, a couple days away can be just the thing you need.  Hey, you might just end up on a train to Santa Barbara!

Cheers!

Traci

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Train to Santa Barbara (part two)

Since this was my first time visiting Santa Barbara I really didn’t have any expectations.  I was happy to walk out the door and experience whatever came my way.  Joel on the other hand, since this was his third time visiting and he knew a little bit more about what was going on out there, had a couple of “must do’s” on his list.

1.Wine Tasting

2. Visit City Hall/ Clock Tower

There are several tasting rooms scattered throughout the downtown and waterfront areas, so after our walk to the beach followed by a breakfast appropriately accompanied with mimosa’s, we were ready!  Joel really wanted to revisit the tasting room where his cousin and wife had their wedding reception.  It was called “Wine Cask” and since it was near City Hall we figured it was a good place to start.  It was still a bit early in the day, so we were given the privilege of having the whole tasting room to ourselves.  (We started our day with mimosa’s so it makes the rest of the day open for drinks! Right?!)  While we relaxed and chatted on the leather couch, we sipped a delicious medley of wines that kept refilling our glasses.  Once the wine stopped flowing, we happily made our way over to our next stop, Santa Barbara’s City Hall and Clock Tower.

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

We started our self guided tour by going up to the top of the clock tower where the views took our breath away.  To the left we saw vast hills, to the right we saw the ocean, and orange tiled roofs filled in everything in between.  Those views were just the beginning of beauty we would see during our time at the City Hall.  The entire building boast beautiful tile work and historical murals.  Everywhere you looked, the walls, the ceilings, the floors, and even on the stairs, amazing art work was there to be seen.  It’s so unique and captivating that it takes the whole idea of a court house wedding to a whole different level!  Joel’s cousin and wife made an awesome choice in having their wedding there, it’s just so neat!

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

DSC_0179

Train to Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

Train To Santa Barbara

The rest of our day was filled with more exploring, wine tasting, making new friends, and eating tasty food!  Besides City Hall, our two favorites of the day were the Riverbench Tasting Room and Seven Bar and Kitchen.  Both of these places are located in an area called “The Funk Zone.”  I highly recommend the “Bubbles Flight” at Riverbench, and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your fellow tasters!  We ended up meeting a super nice couple and their pup Zeph while we were there, and spent the rest of the evening parading around town with them!  Which included dinner and drinks and Seven Bar and Kitchen.  This place had a plethora of house made yummies including a “garden menu” full of all things veggie, and some bar favorites like sliders and fries, but with a foodie lovers twist!  My go to pick was the “Peño Bites” since I’m OBSESSED with everything that is a jalapeño popper!  They were handmade in their kitchen with FRESH jalapeños and a unique bacon beer batter!  If you stop by this joint, trust me, and give these guys a try, you’ll be glad you did!

Until Part Three…

Cheers!

Traci

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