did you miss me?

I missed you! It feels like I haven't done a post in forever even though I posted yesterday about resolutions. Being out of town is always fun and I LOVE traveling. However, I am also so glad that I love home so much it is always a welcomed return. I wasn't looking forward to putting Christmas back in its boxes but everything is mostly put away. I was secretly hoping Santa's elves had put it all away while we were gone but alas, it was here when I returned. It is always way more fun to put it out than it is to but it away. Anyway, have you been wondering what I was up to? Here is the full rundown and highlights from life the last week or so.

Christmas was fantastic! I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the actual day because I was anticipating the pain of it being the first year without my grandma. The first year we wouldn't call her on Christmas morning and tell her we were on our way to pick her up to open presents and have Christmas brunch. That was hard but the rest was good. Christmas Eve KC and I walked to a church very close by us for their candlelight service. I wasn't our home church but we loved being able to walk there in the cold and walk home. Christmas morning he made us coffee and we opened presents, just the two of us. It was quite nice and he totally spoiled me! Then we went to my parents house and went with them and my sis to Children's Hospital LA to hand out some Christmas presents for kids who couldn't be released to spend Christmas with there families. That was a total perspective giver and much needed for all involved. After our visit we had brunch at my parents and opened presents there...spoiled again. Right after we ran up the coast to have Christmas dinner with KC's family. A delightful gathering and delicious dinner. With all the running around we did it's hard to imagine that most years we've gone to two more family get-togethers than that! 

[Carly and me, in our paper crowns. Carly's gingerbread house (mine wasn't worthy of photo).
The gift wrap Carly put on my pressie. The wooden Santas KC's mom collected in Japan.]

Two days after Christmas we packed up and were off on our road trip up the coast...

[a beloved Airstream trucking down PCH...it'll be us one day.]
[post script: I used to live in an Airstream...you want that story don't you]

[KC was SUPER bummed this restaurant in Oxnard was closed.
He wanted to share he post surf stop with me.]

We soared along the coast listening to Mat Kearney, Coldplay, Switchfoot and Melanie Laurent the whole way. 
[up, up, up the coast]

[the back route through Santa Barbara led to many treasures]

Our first day driving took us all the way up to Solvang...

[gorgeous trees and lights upon our arrival in chilly Solvang]

[a much enjoyed bag of meringues and a mocha roll from the Danish Bakery]

After venturing around Solvang and delighting in Danish Bakeries, coffees and Ebleskivers, we drove to Sunstone Vineyards and on to Los Olivos. We loved their local market and took our sandwiches from Panino on the road to our next stop...Demetria Vineyards. After driving the miles of dirt road through rolling hills of vineyards and blue jay everywhere, we arrived at one of my favorite (new) places in California. A treasure among treasures run by an amazing family.

[the Artiste Vineyard tasting room in Los Olivos]

On we continued to Morro Bay for a cozy and yummy Italian dinner and a sleep over the water at the Estero Inn. 

[being goofy and enjoying my textures]

[not a bad view to wake up to the sound of seagulls and seals to]

We started the day with an amazing White Mocha and a uniquely delightful Dominican Chocolate Coconut latte and a stop into the local bead store where I scored some gorgeous beads. Then we were on the road again to explore on our way to Cambria...

[our first stop brought us to frolicking in the dune of the Montana de Oro]

[finally in Cambria we stumbled into a gorgeous gift shop and nursery where
I was happy to buy these discounted beauties for next Christmas]

[Isn't this ombre red and pink rose mindblowingly beautiful?!?!]

[road trip snapshots...this one to show off the awesome earrings my sister got me]

[the much loved Tea Cozy in Cambria] 

We were glad to have lunch at Robin's in Cambria and scrumptious latte for the road from the Cambria Roasting Company. It was well-paired with these...

[one of the best finds of the trip...Red Moose Cookie Company in Cambria...
let's just say, it's a darn good thing they aren't close by]

On our way from Cambria back down through Morro Bay we stopped at Moonstone Beach and in Harmony to admired the glassblowing company. We seriously considered heading back the next day for lessons. How fun would that be?

[Morrow Bay beauty]

We passed back though Morro Bay and cruised on to San Luis Obispo where we checked into the San Luis Creek Inn before venturing to the SLO farmer's market. SCORE ribs, pulled pork sandwich and roasted corn.

[a sea of people at the farmer's market...happens every Thursday night]

[beauty on the walls in SLO]

After a great night in SLO, where we found flame throwers in the park, we got up and found the best coffee around. Black Horse Coffee and Bakery at Uptown was amazing. My caramello was SO so good. 

[beauty in beverage]

Back to the highway we drove through Avila and found this...

[the harbor full of awesome boats]

[the trees full of fall leaves...welcome to California]

We were happy happy happy to arrive in Santa Barbara for our last two night and New Year's Eve.

[who says lunch is too early for prosecco...not a vacationing me!]

[oysters at Hungry Cat off state street]

[I love the details of the architecture all through Santa Barbara]

A mini adventure through downtown Santa Barbara and we finally found ourselves at the Bacara Resort and Spa!

[the gigantic, butterfly-filled centerpiece in the lobby of the Bacara]

[gorgeous first night Pacific Ocean sunset]

[the view south from the Bacara]

[I could find myself here every day]

[an early morning cappuccino in the sunshine outside]

[a mid afternoon cappuccino by the fire in the room]

[NYE dinner at the savory Blue Agave]

[LOVE this chandelier...

...and this blood orange margarita]

[what would NYE at the Bacara be without a sparkly miniskirt?]

[a giant fortune cookie from the Bacara at turndown]

[the end to 2011 and the beginning to a much welcomed 2012!]
[from top left to bottom: dancing the night away, the balloon drop at midnight, our fortune]

Living the life we've imagine we are! How was your New Year celebration?


bevy said...

It really looks like you enjoyed your break! I'm glad you were able to have fun despite your recent loss.

I've only been to California twice in my life, one when I was a kid (and can barely remember) and two for business (while I was also pregnant in my first trimester, thus not feeling up for sightseeing), but this play-by-play really makes me want to visit there again. Thanks for sharing.

Kira said...

That road trip looks so fun!

vanessa (the gal) said...

i did! coffee soon!!! like, for real.

XO, me!


Anonymous said...

looks like you had so much fun!

have a wonderful 2012



Avery Leigh Cox said...

My favorite photo is of the sand dune and the rose. Love... what a fun trip, I want to do that with my guy.

Thanks for visiting my blog... keep up the good work, yours looks great!