Windy Oaks

windy oaks winery

This weekend Joel and I went to Windy Oaks–a beautiful winery hidden at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Corralitos.

windy oaks winery

We are always up for an exciting car ride, so getting there was half the fun.

windy oaks winery

We couldn’t have picked a more perfect day for the adventure. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and there was a calming breeze to keep us cool.

windy oaks winery

The winery is absolutely stunning. We sipped delicious wine out on the patio overlooking what seemed like an endless amount of vines that flowed farther than the eye could see.

windy oaks winery

Eager to go exploring, we headed up the hill, making our way between the vines to take in the view.

windy oaks winery

We could have spent the whole day there.

White button down, high wasted jeans, wedge sandals

I opted for a casual outfit–a breezy button down with high waisted cut-offs and a pair of comfortable heels. If you’re ever in Santa Cruz, I highly recommend making the trek out there. And make sure to taste the Syrah–it’s almost as magnificent as the winery itself.

Striped button down, high waisted cut-offs, wedges.

“Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.” Sophia Bush

On Me: Forever Top

Levi’s Jeans

Clarks Sandals

San Diego Favorites

I just got back from visiting family down in San Diego. Though I don’t do it often, I love exploring new cities. One of my resolutions for 2017 is to travel more! Here are some of the places we went to, food we ate, and overall recommendations for anyone planning a trip to San Diego.

Food:

The Crack Shack

Our first stop was The Crack Shack, and it did not disappoint. Nothing sounds better than a fried chicken sandwich when you’re starving.

Basic Pizza

Basic Pizza

Basic Pizza was the perfect dinner spot before a night out on the town. Their pizzas are massive, but that didn’t stop us from finishing every last bite! Basic’s motto is all in the name–simple, classic, and hipster. Without trying too hard their atmosphere is  contemporary, yet kid friendly. They even have a connecting bar that adds to its appeal.

pacific beach fish shop

pacific beach

You can’t visit San Diego without eating at Pacific Beach Fish Shop. Joel and I were introduced to this place the last time we came down, and the yummy shrimp tacos had us coming back for more! Once you try their tacos, no other fish tacos will compare. Not to mention, it’s located in Pacific Beach–the perfect location to walk off the tacos you just inhaled.

Drinks:

karl Strauss brewery

karl Strauss brewery

karl Strauss brewery

Karl Strauss is a brewery staple of San Diego. There are many breweries to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with this one! Though I’m not a huge beer person, my favorite sample was the Red Trolley. It paired nicely with their duck fat pretzel bites.

prohibition

prohibition

One of my favorite experiences of the trip was getting to go to San Diego’s original Speakeasy–Prohibition. Only the locals know about this joint, as you have to enter through a misleading hidden door. The steep staircase acts as a time machine that transports you back to a different era. They have a unique menu, live music, and a strict dress code. What more could you ask for?

Activities:

San Diego Harbor Cruise

The Hornblower Harbor Cruise was the perfect way to really see and learn about San Diego. There is nothing like the view from a boat.

hotel del

hotel del

Ice Skating and San Diego usually aren’t two things you would think go together, but at the Hotel del Coronado they do! Over the holidays they have a fun ice skating rink overlooking the water. It’s the perfect excuse to visit the magnificent hotel that holds so much history.

USS Midway

Speaking of history, the USS Midway Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon, or the whole day! There is so much to see and do that it could take at least 5 hours to get through the whole ship. They even have simulator rides that give you a taste of what being a pilot was actually like. If you have the time, definitely check this place out.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -Saint Augustine

Anniversary Date Idea

anniversary date idea

Joel and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this weekend. Man, time flies.

One of our favorite things to do together is go for a drive along the coast. So we hopped in the car and headed up Hwy 1 towards Pescadero.

Duarte's Tavern

We decided to celebrate at Duarte’s Tavern. We had driven by several times wanting to go in, but for one reason or another never got the chance. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend stopping by (especially if you’re an artichoke lover, trust me). Established in 1894, the building carries a lot of history–as does the town. The atmosphere, food, and service made for an unforgettable evening.

duarte's tavern

 Olallieberry Pie–unfortunately the only food item I was able to document. After scarfing down cream of artichoke soup, lots of bread, and artichoke ravioli, I felt a moment of fullness long enough to snap a photo of dessert. It didn’t last long.

Date Night

Snapchat Screenshot *note the cozy nook we were seated in just outside of the bar*

Pescadero

Pescadero is a great escape, even if getting there took less than an hour. The town is quaint and unique. Despite its small radius, there is actually a lot to do. You can visit Harley Farms, sip a warm beverage at the cool and hipster Downtown Local coffee shop, or my favorite–walk the historic downtown street in awe of its untouched beauty.

urban jeans and sweater, lucky heels, bar iii top

I dressed in my best Fall sweater since the weather is finally starting to cool down around here. I paired it with a black turtleneck tank tucked into my favorite high waisted jeans at the moment. When I was a kid, I remember refusing to where any turtleneck my mom picked out for me. It’s funny how times change. And of course, I can’t forget to mention my go-to heels. Very casual and very me.

date night outfit

“I look at you and see the rest of my life in front of my eyes.” -Unknown

The Keyhole Dress

Tillys Keyhole Dress

A couple weekends ago I went to a beautiful wedding up in Sonoma. I had never been to Wine Country before and found myself stressing over what to wear….what else is new? I wanted something that would keep me cool in the heat, but also polished enough for a wedding. Enter The Keyhole Dress.

The day before the wedding I found myself shopping at a nearby mall, just in case I came across a dress better than the one I brought. And I did. At a Tilly’s. I was reluctant to try on the Keyhole style. I usually prefer a silhouette that accents my waist, and a neck line that isn’t too revealing. With pressure from my mom and sister, I tried it on and was pleasantly surprised. The neck line added a hint of elegance, and my waist didn’t completely disappear beneath the loose fabric. On such a hot day, I was thankful for the flowy design. I was reminded of why I love fashion so much–it pushes me to step out of my comfort zone.

Here are my favorite Keyhole Dresses from Tilly’s:

Tillys Keyhole Dress

Full Tilt Floral Medallion Dress

Tillys Keyhole Dress

Chloe & Katie Border Print Keyhole Dress

Tillys Keyhole Dress

Socialite Floral Keyhole Dress

Tillys Keyhole Dress

Full Tilt Keyhole Bodycon Midi Dress

Wine Tasting

Jean Jacket, Black Jeans, Booties, Crop Top

This weekend Joel and I went wine tasting at the Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room in Davenport.

Bonny Doon Vineyard

We had a great time. With each sip, we tried to guess the notes for each wine–a perfect date night activity.

Bonny Doon Vineyard

We even ended up walking away with two bottles: the 2014 Old Telegram (Joel’s pick) and the 2013 Vinferno (my pick, obviously a dessert wine).

BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap high waisted black jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

I always envisioned my first wine tasting expedition up in the Napa heat, with a floral print dress blowing in the wind. Since this was a spur of the moment idea, we decided to stay local. Therefore, I modified my idyllic outfit vision for the Santa Cruz wine tasting experience.

BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap high waisted black jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

This weekend really cooled off, so I opted for a pair of booties, jeans, and a denim jacket.

BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap high waisted black jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

I fit right in with the laid back and casual look of Santa Cruz.

BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap high waisted black jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend trying this place. They were informative, fun, and friendly. What more could you ask for?

BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap high waisted black jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” -Benjamin Franklin

On Me: BDG Denim Jacket, Urban Crop Top, Gap Jeans, Lucky Brand Booties

What’s In My Bag

what's in my bag

I found this Rebecca Minkoff tote at Nordstrom Rack and just had to have it! It’s big enough to carry all my stuff, but it doesn’t feel like a piece of luggage.

Check out my list of handbag essentials:

A Good Book/Magazine–You never know when you’ll have extra time in a waiting room or get bored on the bus.

A Small Notebook & Pen–It’s so handy to be able to pull out pen and paper when an important thought comes to mind that you don’t want to forget!

Wallet–DUH.

Sunglasses–Good for both outdoors and indoors when trying to see in sunlight or look put together after a rough night’s sleep.

A Piece of Jewelry–Spur of the moment dinner plans might cause for a little something extra.

Small Makeup Bag–Perfect for concealing a hairbrush, pressed powder, hair tie, argan oil, lipstick, tweezers, and perfume (all quite necessary, I swear).

Outerlandssf

Nordstrom Sunnies

Outerlands is one of my favorite spots to brunch in the city. They are located on Judah Street in the Inner Sunset, just a few blocks up from Ocean Beach. Since it is finally starting to feel like Spring in the city, we opted for outside seating.

Outerlands Sf

I ordered the iced ginger lemon apple cider–a perfect way to start the day. You can even add bourbon if you don’t have class to go to after!

outerlands sf

Joel began with a cappuccino…

outerlands sf

…then upgraded to a gin and juice (ford’s gin, fresh grapefruit, vanilla bean syrup). Their sandwiches really hit the spot. Joel got the cast-iron grilled cheese with avo.

outerlands sf

I chose their veggie sandwich (squash, feta, kale, romesco). Superb. Oh, and did I mention how much I loved the side of pickled veggies?! It was a refreshing touch.

outerlands sf

Our sweet tooth couldn’t be ignored. We split the glazed donut (matcha, pepita, grapefruit). It was served warm and satisfied our cravings.

selfie

We were completely stuffed, so we decided to walk it off at Lands End. As you can tell from the picture, Joel doesn’t like taking selfies as much as me. Fear not…it hasn’t stopped me from documenting our every move yet! (he-he)

Abercrombie T-shirt, Chelsea crew Sandals, Urban Pants, Nordstrom Sunnies

This is my go-to laid back look: cotton pants, a loose tee, sandals, and sunnies.

Abercrombie T-shirt, Chelsea crew Sandals, Urban Pants, Nordstrom Sunnies

“San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.” – Paul Kanter

Valentine’s Day

San Francisco is full of great things to do. With so many options to choose from, we opted for a favorite–Ghirardelli Square. The desserts are decadent, and the scenery is unbeatable.

Valentine’s day is the perfect excuse to play tourist!

Ghirardelli Square

The Classic Sundae

Ghirardelli Square

San Francisco

The View

Selfie

Selfie, of course

Valentine's Day outfit

Outfit Details: Forever 21 Top & Bottom/Zara Heels/Nordstrom Sunnies

Wet N Wild Gel Nail Polish

This polish is STILL on strong. Shade: Lavender Out Loud Rings: Sundance/World Market (both midis)

Whale City Bakery

Whale City Bakery, Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies

Back when I was in high school, all I ever wanted was to leave this small town and move to the big city just 70 miles up the coast. After doing just that, all I ever want now is to come back home.

Whale City Bakery, Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies

I never realized just how lucky I was to grow up in such a unique niche called Santa Cruz. I was so eager to explore NEW streets, to meet NEW people, and to see NEW things, that I forgot that nothing can truly compare to this place. Maybe everyone feels this way about their home town, though.

Whale City Bakery, Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies

Don’t get me wrong–I love San Francisco. But there is something so special about Santa Cruz. For instance, you could never find a place like Whale City Bakery up in the city.

Whale City Bakery, Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies

Whale City Bakery is just 10 miles north of town, sitting on Highway 1 in Davenport. Getting there makes for a scenic adventure. Then, once you arrive, you get to sip your coffee while watching the surfers try to catch a wave.

Whale City Bakery

You can choose to grab a killer muffin and coffee to go from the bakery, or sit and take your time while digesting the best blueberry pancakes you’ve ever had.

Whale City Bakery

They also offer healthy items (for those who like that kind of thing).

Whale City Bakery

If you are ever in the area, make sure to stop by. You won’t regret it.

“I live in Santa Cruz. I moved here in 1974 and couldn’t leave.” -Ellen Bass

Whale City Bakery, Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies

On Me: Abercrombie Leather Jacket, Free People Tank, Nordstrom Sunnies