Gordon Valley Ranch

 

Napa, Ca was the first stop on our trek up to Washington.  Sure, many people would choose this as an excellent pit stop to at least have a glass of wine, but when you also have sweet friends who live on a secluded ranch in Napa Valley, it’s not just a pit stop, it’s a MUST stop.  Not to mention that they have an adorable new addition that we absolutely had to meet.  The environment is unique and whimsical and I so look forward to seeing our friends future on this beautiful ranch develop.  I typically like to tell you the story behind the photos in my blog, but with an incredible landscape such as this, the photos speak for themselves!

Mama & Baby

 

Poppin’ Bottles

Getting my fix <3

Thank you again to our friends Miles and Katie for giving us this one of a kind experience xx.

Cheers!

Traci

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A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

A Day At Stone Brewery

Before the idea of moving back to Washington State was even presented to us, we had made a California Bucket List simply to get us out of our normal routine and see new things that our area had to offer.  A few months later though, that list became an ACTUAL bucket list of activities we wanted to do before we left the state! So to have some fun and put another check mark on that list, we headed to Stone Brewery in Escondido, California.

We’d heard about Stone Brewery over and over again from friends, and Joel is a huge Stone IPA fan, so this one was for him.  Once we arrived it was clear that this place was put together with everyone in mind though, not just beer drinkers.  I was thrilled to see bubbles on their drink menu!  And as weird as it might sound, it’s a family friendly establishment, with a restaurant and outdoor gardens to enjoy.  They offer brewery tours at bargain price of $3 with five tasters and a take home glass or $1 without tasters/glass.  Stone doesn’t make a profit on these tours, instead all money collected is donated to a variety of different charities, how cool is that!

While we waited for our tour time, we grabbed a couple beverages and went outside to explore the gardens.  We were greeted with a labyrinth of little trails studded with intimate seating areas, waterfalls, Koi ponds, and even a couple grassy areas with tables for kiddos to run around in.  Even with people all around, the layout of the gardens made it feel private and zen like, a fantastic place to sip a drink in and enjoy good company.

On our tour we learn all about hops and barley and how the beer is made, and at the end the attendees who purchased the $3 tickets were gifted a mini glass to fill with beer.  Everyone got to try four different beers, and then which ever type was your favorite, you got to try again!  Joel really appreciated that!  And for the non-beer drinking attendees they offered their house made root beer or strawberry soda.

It was a good day!  I’m so glad that even though all the craziness of moving was upon us, we set aside a day to just have fun together.  Relationships and memories are the things we remember!  Although chores like laundry (or in our case packing) must get done, make sure you try and carve out some time to enjoy life too!  After all you’re never going to look back and say “Man I’m glad I washed those dishes that were in the sink that one day!” Nahhh…. your’e going to remember the adventures you had!  So I hope you get out there, and if you’re in the mood to try something new in Southern California, hit up Stone Brewery!

 

Cheers!

Traci

 

 

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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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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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Train to Santa Barbara (part one)

A few blog posts back I started a little “California Bucket List” of things Joel and I would like to see and do while living here in Southern California.  As soon as finishing writing that list, we decided the only decent thing to do was to start checking things OFF that list!  And why not go big and check TWO things off at once!  And if you didn’t guess it by the title, we took a train to Santa Barbara for the weekend.  CHECK CHECK!

We left on a Friday evening after work.  Unfortunately by that time the sun had set so we didn’t get much of a view on our way up, but I thought ahead and made sure our trip north would be a success no matter what with a mini cheese platter style spread!  Joel had packed a couple bottles of wine to bring along on our trip, so we popped one open and enjoyed our own personal happy hour aboard the Amtrak Pacific Surf Liner.  It was the perfect way to end a long week and start our week away…

Train To Santa Barbara

On this trip we decided we wanted to try out an Airbnb rental instead of a hotel and the one we chose was just a short walk to the beach, so our first morning began with just that!  They way to the beach included an area of preserved land that lend right up to a cliff with beautiful view of the coast line.  It also just happened to be a completely off leach dog area so we were greeted by lots of new puppy friends!  Just beyond the park is where we found the “Mesa Lane Steps” that lead us down to the beach.  The tide was high, so we weren’t able to walk on the beach this time, but we had the pleasure of watching the waves roll in, and surfers trying to catch them!

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

To avoid a suuuuuper long blog post, I’m dividing our trip up into a few different parts, kind of like a mini series!  So check back soon for more on our adventure!

 

Cheers!

Traci

 

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California Bucket List

California Bucket List

When it comes to fun activities and experiences, California has a lot to offer.  You can even go surfing AND snowboarding in the same day if your heart so desires.  Over the last few years we’ve checked a few activities off our “must do” list, including wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma, riding the famous trolleys and eating fresh crab on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, and getting away from it all during a long weekend on Catalina Island.  But there’s still so much to see and do that I decided to start a “California Bucket List” to keep track of everything and to give us a better chance of actually getting out there and DOING these things.  I tend to be a bit forgetful, so lists like this help!  Here’s what we’ve come up with so far.

1.  Take the train….ANYWHERE

With train stations dotted through the state, there’s several locations to choose from.  The Pacific Surfliner Train boast “a unique vantage on the Southern California seascape”  which definitely peaks my interest.  Regardless of our final destination, with a quick visit to the bar cart paired with some beautiful coastal views, the train ride alone should be a pretty nice experience all in itself.

2.  Weekend trip to Santa Barbara

My boyfriend Joel made a visit Santa Barbara for his cousins wedding a couple months before I made the big move down from Seattle.  I remember him telling me how beautiful it was and that he HAD to take me there one day.  Years later with jobs and just LIFE happening, we still haven’t made it up there. Hopefully by putting it on this list, we can make it a reality!

3. Day trip to Stone Brewery 

Joel is a big fan of IPA’s and in particular, Stone IPA.  Stone has two brewery locations in Southern California.  We’ve been told that if we had to choose between the two, the Escondido location wins out.  Apparently the grounds surrounding the brewery consist of luscious gardens and pretty water features.  I’m not a beer drinker myself, so this feature along with some yummy food from their kitchen will make this a fun outing for the both of us!

4. GO GLAMPING!

This trend has been going strong for a while now, and we want in on it!   The hardest part is going to be choosing between staying in a classic Air Stream, a fancy canvas tent, or a vintage trailer by the ocean.  Heck, maybe we’ll do all three!

As of right now, that’s the list!  If you have any other suggestions for my list I would LOVE to hear them!  I’m all about exploring this state and experiencing it’s finest, big and small!  And if you want to get out and see a little more of your current living area, I suggest making a bucket list of your own!  You know that saying “if you build it and they will come”?  WELLLLLL… if you write it down, it will happen!  It could be the small first step you need to start the grand adventure you’ve been dreaming of!

Cheers!

Traci

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Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly rainy in southern California…uncommonly rainy.  Like, it’s the most rain I’ve seen in the entire time I’ve lived in this state.  In fact, I read that it rained so much that San Diego County is officially no longer in a drought.  Now that has all passed though and the sunshine is back!  And to celebrate the return of our warm weather I decided that I wanted to surprise my boyfriend with a hike in Laguna Beach.  My boyfriend LOVES to hike.  We don’t go hiking very often, mostly because of my great fear of rattle snakes, but since it’s not considered “rattle snake season” right now it sounded like a great idea!  If you follow me on Instagram you may have caught a little bit of our hike on my  “Insta-Stories” as well as the pre-hike breakfast I made us!  And if you don’t follow me, maybe you should start! 🙂 Click here!

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

As soon as we stepped on the trail, we could tell we were in for some amazing views

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

We also got to see snowy mountain views!

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

That piece of land in the distance is Catalina Island

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

We were even greeted by this little guy!

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

Joel is quite often sneaky with his picture taking and captures me when I’m unaware

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

So I decided to do the same!  When I saw him in this stance I had to steal a shot.  He’s OBSESSED with these Cloudline hiking socks, so much so that he exclusively wears them everyday…not just while hiking.

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

I’m really hoping someone proposed here recently, because, well, it’s pretty adorable if they did!

Hiking Dartmoor Road Trail

When I told Joel that my idea for the day was to go hiking, he was pretty stoked.  He’s not big on surprises, but I love them, so it made me feel good to be able to spring this one on him.  Just a little act of affection for my guy.  And a pretty sweet way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning if you ask me!

Cheers!

Traci

 

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