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Camping Essentials

We're busy packing tonight, getting ready for our trip to Tuolumne Meadows. I'm so excited, but a little overwhelmed with everything we still need to get done tonight! 

I thought I'd share a few of my camping essentials with you. Of course, this list leaves off a few necessities like a stove and food, but I included the important stuff, like cookies and wine! I am notoriously cold, so my top priority is bringing as many warm clothes as I can fit into my bag! We do a lot of hiking while we're there, so I usually bring my most comfortable workout clothes, hiking boots, a water bottle and a day pack as well. 

At least one day, we usually hike up to the river and relax for a bit, so I always bring a good book. In the evenings, one of our traditions is to play Yahtzee after dinner, we get pretty competitive, it's always fun! 

I hope you enjoy my little list of camping essentials. Do you like camping? What is on your packing list?

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Weekend at Lake Clementine

Another great weekend on the books! Boy am I tired, it's a good thing I only have to work a couple days this week!

It was SO nice spending time with my family this weekend. I've been having a hard time being away since Phillip was born, and I finally felt like I was able to get some good bonding time in this weekend. I think it's safe to say he loves his Auntie, we had a lot of fun. He is such a happy boy! He just loves splashing in the water and bouncing his toes in the sand. Clearly, he takes after his Momma who loves the beach!

The traffic getting out of the city on Friday evening was really bad, so we arrived later than we anticipated. When we finally made it to camp, everyone was still up around the campfire, so as soon as we had our tent set up we joined them.

Saturday morning after breakfast, we went out on the boat for a little wakeboarding. It was so fun! I was a little nervous, because I had only gone once in the past year. But it's like riding a bike, and I had no trouble. Someday, I need to have a boat, because wakeboarding and spending time out on the lake makes me so happy, and I can't help but smile and have fun.

Later that afternoon we took an intermission from our boating weekend, to go to my friend Alex's. It was her son's 3rd birthday, and they were having a big party for him at the house. Before I moved, I spent a lot of time with them. I can't believe Ryan is already 3, it seems like just yesterday I was heading to the hospital the day he was born. The party was really fun. There was a big bouncy house/water slide for the kids and beer for the grownups! What else could you ask for?  We weren't able to stay long, but I was so happy to see Alex and the kiddos. I held baby Paige, so Alex could play hostess, and I decided she is the most perfect little baby girl I've ever seen. (I can say that since I don't have a niece of my own, yet)!

Once we were back on the lake, we made dinner, visited, and caught up with old friends. It was so nice to see friends I haven't been able to see much since I moved. When I lived with Josh and Christine a few years ago, I spent a ton of time with all of them. It was great to catch up and reminisce about old times.  

Sunday was another great day. In the morning, I played on the beach with Phillip while Christine and Josh packed up their camping stuff. It was so nice having so much uninterrupted time with him. I can't believe how big he's gotten! He's full of personality and always smiling.

We spent the afternoon lounging on the boat relaxing, and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to the fog. I'm so happy I get to see my family again this weekend and spend even more time with Phillip!

I didn't take a single picture this weekend, but thankfully my sister did so I have a few of her pictures to share.

Auntie and Daddy
Mommy is so funny!
Baby Phillip with his Uncle Jesse
Pooped! Nap time on the beach!

And an unrelated picture, just because it's so darn cute...Phillip started eating solids last week, so my sister made him squash from the garden. He wasn't too sure about it at first!

obsessed with his expression-- too stinkin' cute! 

I hope you all had a great weekend!


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Tasty Beverage

One of my absolute favorite summer activities is boating. There are quite a few lakes in the foothills where I am from, and many of my friends have boats. Most weekends were spent lounging at the sandbar, wakeboarding, or floating in a cove. I think I am my happiest out on the lake with my family and friends.

Quite a few years ago, before my sister and brother in law had a boat, we were out on the lake with my cousin. As usual, cocktails were involved. I don't quite remember how we came up with this little creation , but I'm so happy we did! My sister and I brought the supplies with us, and mixed our drinks on the boat. My cousin Steve was intrigued and asked for a sip. After he took a taste, he looked at us and said, "now that's a tasty beverage!" And that my friends, is how our cocktail was named.

Since that summer, my sister and I have deemed this our summer cocktail. We even bought cute little "sippy cups" to keep on the boat for our Tasty Beverages. It's a simple, and refreshing drink. Perfect for a day on the boat, poolside BBQ, or any hot summer day. I promise you want to try this before summer is over.

Tasty Beverage: (makes 1 cocktail)
2oz. Absolut Ruby Red Vodka
Juice from 1/2 Lime  
1c  Club Soda
Splash of Lemon Lime Soda

Pour Ruby Red vodka, lime juice, and club soda into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake lightly to mix, (be careful not to shake too much because of the carbonation in the club soda). Pour over ice and top with a splash of lemon lime soda (I prefer 7-Up). Garnish with lime, and serve.

I hope you all enjoy this classic summer cocktail as much as we do! It's a favorite for my sister and I, and always reminds me of our best summers out on the lake.

I'm so excited because tonight after work, we're heading up to Auburn to go camping on the lake and spend the weekend with my sister, brother in law, and friends! I cannot wait to hold my precious nephew and get all his lovin'! I haven't been out on the boat nearly enough in the past few years, and I am so looking forward to wakeboarding and spending time with my sister. And you better believe I packed everything to make a few Tasty Beverages!



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Our Love Story: Part II

Last week I shared the first part of Andrew and my love story. So today, I thought we'd get to the good stuff! So get comfy, it's a long one folks...

Following graduation from Sonoma, I moved back home and started looking for a "real" job. Meanwhile, Andrew moved to Danville to live with our good friend Rich since he had bought a house there after graduation. And their third roommate would be Laura (remember, MY roommate for three years in college?). As time went on, I kept in touch with my close friends from college. Including Laura and Rich, so I would hear updates here and there about Andrew, but that was the extent of it. 

After a couple years, Andrew ended up moving back home to San Diego where he grew up. Even though he moved back down south, he and Rich also remained very close.

Rich would often travel to Sacramento for work, and since I worked downtown, we would often get lunch together. During one of our lunches, he mentioned that Andrew would be flying up soon, for a snowboarding trip. One of Andrew's childhood friends lived in Sacramento as well, so they were planning on staying Thursday night at his place, then driving to Tahoe early Friday morning. So we decided that we should all get together and go out downtown Thursday night.

At this point, Rich was clearly already in matchmaker mode. Which brought up that old attraction that I felt at Sonoma. One day, Andrew sent me a message on Facebook, saying he was looking forward to seeing me. Which began the conversation.  

The weeks leading up to our night out in Sacramento, Andrew and I had a few conversations on Facebook, but nothing really. Even though it was supposed to be just a "casual night out with friends," I was super nervous to see him. So I enlisted my best friends Emilee and Jen to come along.  Plus, Rich and I were really close and our other friend Danny would be there, so having a group setting settled my nerves, slightly.

When the night finally arrived, Andrew's flight was delayed (little did we know this would become a theme in our relationship). We met in Midtown, and ended up having a great night. The conversation was really easy between us, and I definitely felt a spark. Surprisingly, I felt really comfortable around him and not my usual, awkward ball of nerves. It was so fun being back together with our old group of friends, reminiscing on college days.

When we finally left the bar, the boys walked us back to my friend's apartment. Since they had to be up early for Tahoe, they were eager to get back to where they were staying. So we said goodbye, but not before a goodnight kiss.

The next day at work was beyond brutal, but I couldn't help but smile. I had zero expectations. I mean, Andrew lived in San Diego, so I chalked it up to a really fun night with old friends. Later that afternoon I was driving to San Francisco for a friend's birthday party, when I received a text message from Andrew. I was very surprised, since I hadn't given him my number, matchmaker Rich took care of that one. Andrew told me how much fun he had, and that he hoped to see me again the next time he was in town.

Still, I didn't have any expectations and assumed I wouldn't see or talk to him again for quite some time. But, little did I know that was just the beginning.

As weeks passed, Andrew would text me regularly and also called, which I loved. This was all taking place just before I was leaving for my sister's wedding in Hawaii. I'll always remember a cute message he left me about waiting until the last minute to start packing (which he still gives me a hard time for). While in Hawaii we exchanged text messages constantly. My family teased me to no end about this new guy that I was always talking about. It was really fun.

Upon returning from Hawaii, Andrew send me a message that he would like to see me again. He wanted to plan another snowboarding trip with Rich, and hoped I could come, and also wanted to plan an official date while he was in town. At this point, I started to feel like this could actually turn into something. I knew he eventually wanted to be back in Northern California, so I figured why not.

I took a Friday off, and drove down to meet him at Rich's house. I think it was the first time I ever really had that feeling of butterflies in my stomach before seeing someone. Both nervous and excited, in the best way possible.

Our first date was a beautiful day in January, we went wine tasting in the East Bay. The first stop was Concannon Winery in Livermore.  It was such a fun day, I felt completely comfortable with him, like I'd know him forever. I am perpetually nervous, and surprisingly, I didn't feel that way around him. He made me smile and laugh more than anyone had in a long time. Next we headed for a different winery that had bocce ball, and played a couple games. I was terrible, but it was still such a fun day. I'd say a perfect first date, possibly the best date I'd ever been on. 

That night, I headed home for a friends birthday party. I remember feeling so excited about the possibilities ahead, I knew I definitely liked Andrew. A lot.

The boys were heading up to Tahoe to snowboard that Monday. All weekend I would get texts from Andrew and Rich trying to convince me to call in sick Monday, and join them. Of course, I couldn't say no to them. They picked me up on Sunday evening on their way to Reno, then we would go to North Star at Tahoe on Monday.

Reno was so fun. We ended up going bowling, gambled a little, it was a great night. The next morning we were up early to go to the snow. I was actually really nervous because I hadn't been skiing in at least four years, and obviously, wanted to make a good impression. Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as planned...

We were having a great day, and I was doing surprisingly well for how long it had been since a pair of skis were on my feet. Then after lunch, Rich convinced me to go down the back side of the mountain. I went against my gut, and followed along. As we started down the mountain, I noticed a black diamond sign. WHAT?! I was not pleased, I tried to make them stop but there was really no way around it. They promised to go slow with me, and that I had done harder routes earlier in the day. Okay fine, I thought, but I was still mad and slightly terrified. Thankfully, I made it down the steepest part no problem. With my confidence renewed, I started down the small slope towards the ski lift. And that's when I caught an edge. I went tumbling down the mountain, and came to a stop sitting up with my legs twisted behind me. I knew immediately it wasn't good.

Andrew and Rich came rushing over. I was mortified. Surprisingly, it didn't hurt. I figured it was just my ego that was bruised, and tried to click back into my skis. That's when I felt it. My knee was messed UP. I'll save the gory details for another post, but it ended with a ride down the mountain with a paramedic towing me in a sled. Not my finest moment. Andrew followed me down the mountain, and sat with me while I iced my knee and the other guys got a few more runs in. I remember feeling awful, not only did I embarrass myself beyond belief, but I ruined his afternoon of snowboarding. I thought for sure that would be the end of any possibility that something might happen between us.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Because of my knee injury, Andrew drove up to stay with me the following weekend. Even though I was barely mobile, we had an amazing time. There was never a shortage of conversation and things felt completely natural between us. Even with my messed up knee, I hadn't been this happy in a long, long time.

flowers Andrew sent
ignore how awful I look in this photo

After that weekend, I think we both knew we wanted to see where this could go. We continued phone and skype dates, as well as texting throughout the day. The more I got to know him, the more I cared for him. So I decided to book a flight to San Diego so I could see him again a few weeks later. It was on that trip, that we both decided this was something we wanted to continue. And our long distance love officially began...



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Cabo, Here We Come!

Andrew and I have been talking about going on vacation for months. We both need it! I haven't been on a proper vacation in almost two years, when I went sailing through St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands (I promise to blog about this sometime, it was awesome)! Although we've had a number of fun weekend trips, I'm looking forward to a week of complete relaxation. I am counting down the weeks until we're lounging on the beach with a cocktail in hand! 

We threw a bunch of ideas around, and looked into a couple different options. Originally, we wanted to go to Costa Rica, but it's rainy season there when we're able to take our vacation. And since we've both been to Hawaii a few times, we thought we should mix it up. Also, Hawaii has gotten quite expensive, and we hope to go on a European adventure next year, so we wanted to keep the cost of our trip down as much as possible. 

I had heard many good things about Mexico from family and friends, and one of my old bosses lives in Cabo San Lucas part time, so I knew who to ask for travel advice! After looking into it, we found there are great deals on so we decided to book an all inclusive package through that site. Initially we weren't sold on the all inclusive plans, but we figured it would save a lot of money and we would still have the option to go out to meals in town, or at different resorts when we wanted to. 

We're already looking into different excursions and activities to do while we're there. And I'm sure there will be good amount of beach and pool time as well. Danielle was sweet enough to share some advice for us since she was just in Cabo a few weeks ago. And I would love to hear from any of you who have been in the past. Any must-do activities? Restaurant recommendations? I'm all ears! 

This will be Andrew and my first, official vacation together, so this feels especially exciting for me! Since the first two years of our relationship were spent long distance between San Diego and Sacramento/San Francisco, it was complicated to plan something when we were coming from separate cities. It's not very much fun to start a vacation flying alone, so this vacation will feel even sweeter! 

And bonus, knowing that this trip is around the corner is keeping me extra motivated about my new gym routine

What is your favorite vacation destination? 

**click images for source


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Well, it seems as though it's going to be another long week, boo! On the plus side, I have a fun night planned with the girls tonight, so that's getting me through the work day!

My wonderful friend Erica (who I'm friends with in real life, too) tagged me in this "Old School Blogging" post.  Basically, lists of five things. And ya'll know I love lists, so I couldn't resist playing along!
I hope you all enjoy a good, random post as much as I do! Here it goes...

Five Things I Have a Passion For:
1.       Travel
2.      Family & Friends
3.      Being Outdoors
4.      Photography (just starting to pick it up)!
5.      Blogging

Five Things I'd Like to do Before I Die:
1.       Travel the world (See why Erica and I are such good friends)?
2.      Live in a Tuscan Villa for at least one summer.
3.      Have a lake house with a dock and boat
4.      Write a Book (also illustrate a children's book for my Dad...better get to writing Dad)!
5.      Find a career I love

Five Things I Say A Lot:
1.      "I want to go to there" - I know it doesn't really make sense, I picked it up from Andrew. We say it when we see a place we want to travel to, or a restaurant we want to try. It's become quite the catch phrase at our house.  
2.      "athletos" or, " I want to put on athletos" - Our word for comfy clothes. I say it every day, it's the first thing I do when I get home.
3.      "Six one, half dozen the other" - Andrew had never heard this before!?
4.      "Sorry" - I am a people pleaser, so I am quick to apologize if I think I've inconvenienced anyone, or hurt their feelings in the slightest. 
5.      "Mmmm" - It's more of a noise really, does that count? Andrew says I do this after taking the first bite of something if I'm really hungry. What can I say, I love food!
This one was so hard! I can't really think of any phrases I use all the time!

Five Books and/or Magazines I've Read Lately:
1.       Hunger Games Trilogy
2.      Sarah's Key
3.      All of my favorite blogs
4.      Kite Runner
5.      A Thousand Splendid Suns
Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns weren't recent reads, but two of my all time favorites! I'm looking forward to reading And The Mountains Echoed. The latest book by Khaled Hosseini. And a bonus, since I've been slacking in the reading department the top five books on my reading list:
1.       And The Mountains Echoed
2.      Wild
3.      Proof of Heaven - I had read an article about this and was so intrigued, but after reading Stephanie's review, I'm dying to learn more.
4.      Unbroken
5.      The Deep End of the Ocean

Five Favorite Movies:
1.       White Christmas
2.      The Holiday
3.      180* South
4.      The Labyrinth (don't laugh)
5.      Midnight in Paris
Movies are tough. I like so many, it's hard to narrow it down to just the top 5!

Five Places I'd Love to Travel:
1.       Everywhere
2.      Croatia
3.      Costa Rica
4.      Ireland
5.      South Africa
6.      Greece
I want to travel the world! There are countless places I'd love to see. And my list keeps getting longer and longer. My instinct is to keep going back to Italy because I'm obsessed, but I refrained from putting that on the list since there are so many amazing places I have yet to explore!

Five People I Tag to Join Me:
1.       Heather @ Fiery & Opinionated
2.      Chantal @ B In The Bay
3.      Kasey @ Life & Love With Mr. Wonderful
4.      Erin @ Cali-Land Chic
5.      Tina @ Carrots n' Cake

Don't feel like you have to play along, I am just curious to see what your answers are! And I thought it may be a fun post idea if you were feeling otherwise, uninspired :)

Is it Friday yet?



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Adventures in Santa Cruz

Our weekend without plans quickly turned into a fun-filled few days. Friday night we started the weekend off with a surprise birthday party for a friend. It was a such a great night! They rented a space complete with shuffle board, beer pong, a full bar, and snacks with the Giants game and some classic 90's movies playing in the background. 

Saturday was a little more low key. Andrew actually had to work in the morning, and then went surfing in the afternoon, so I went to the gym, shopped and cleaned a little. That evening we went out to see a friend perform for Opera On Tap here in the city. It was really fun! The venue was really intimate, and for a bar the acoustics were surprisingly good. It was a fun night out. I kept thinking about how many great events there are in this city that I have yet to discover! I'd recommend it to any locals who are looking for something different to do! 

Sunday morning we were up early for a day trip to Santa Cruz! We've been talking about going for a while now, and decided it would be a perfect day. 

We started out at Pleasure Point because Andrew was hoping to surf. But it was pretty crowded and the surf wasn't that good, so we decided to just walk around and take in the sights for bit. We were able to see some sea lions hanging out in the kelp beds and watched the surfers before we hit up the local surf shops. 

The fog started to burn off and it turned into a really nice day. We drove over to the Patagonia Outlet to see if we could find anything we couldn't live without. Andrew ended up with a shirt and a water bottle. But I resisted temptation. Next we grabbed a quick lunch and then made our way down to The Boardwalk

We just walked around The Boardwalk for a little bit, mostly because we wanted to ride the Giant Dipper! We grabbed our tickets and jumped in line. I love rickety, old roller coasters. It was a blast!  

Once we had enough of the crowds on the Boardwalk, we decided to head back towards the car and check out one more surf spot. We parked at Lighthouse Field State Beach, and walked over to the cliffs to watch the locals surf. There is also a small surfing museum in the lighthouse building that we walked through. It was pretty interesting to see photos from decades past and how surfing has evolved. 

We just watched the movie Chasing Mavericks last week, so it was fun to be there and remember the scenes of surfing here in the movie. The surf was actually really good so we stood and watched for probably an hour. I think Andrew was bummed he didn't surf. But it was crowded and already late, so he decided not to. 

We saw a few sea otters, even a mom and her pup! There was a volunteer there who pointed it out to us and let us use his spotting scope to get a good view. 

It was a great day, and the highlight of my weekend. It was so nice just to do a spontaneous road trip with Andrew. We didn't really have a plan, but both enjoyed getting out of the fog and spending time on the coast. We're already planning our next trip, when I plan to spend the majority of my time on the beach watching Andrew surf.

I hope you all had an amazing weekend too! Is it bad I'm already looking forward to the weekend?



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