Category Archives: travel

36 Hours in LA

36 Hours in LA to Eat & Shop

 

Two weeks ago my girlfriend, Heather, and I spent a quick 36 hours in LA eating and shopping our way through the city. It was my first time leaving Lawson since he was born 15 months ago and it was fantastic. Of course I missed my boys, but I had such a fun time with Heather. I forgot how easy and stress-free it is to travel solo, sleep through the night without listening to a baby monitor and pop in and out of stores on a whim. Jim and Lawson had just as much fun at home together. The weekend was a win all around!

 

Heather and I are both planners. We researched the places we wanted to go, mostly concentrating on eating and shopping. A week before we left, we met to map them out and decide on our must visits. Our trip focused on a few areas, which worked out perfectly for us. I can’t wait to return!

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

 

Brentwood Country Mart

After an early morning flight, we grabbed our rental car and headed to Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica for brunch at Farmshop. With our bellies full, we hit up a few shops: Sugar Paper for the best paper products and Intermix for window shopping fashion above our budget. On other trips, I’ve also loved looking through the Toy Crazy and the DIESEL bookstore.

highlight: crown maple sticky bun from Farmshop

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Melrose

After reading about the Instagram-worthy Alfred’s Tea Room, we knew we needed to head to Melrose and see it for ourselves. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was it incredibly Instagram-worthy, the peppermint honey boba tea special of the day is the best non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drink I’ve ever had. I eliminate or limit caffeine when I’m pregnant, but often crave an iced tea. It was my first experience trying boba tea. I’d get one from Alfred’s every day if I could.

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

We wandered in and out of Violet Grey and Chloe and stopped for a few photos at the famous pink wall outside Paul Smith. Violet Grey is an upscale skincare, makeup and fragrance boutique that curates the best products as recommended by makeup artists and those “in the know.” While they don’t carry all natural products exclusively, they do have several of my favorite brands.

My 40th birthday is coming up next month. I’ve made it a tradition to gift myself something special for big birthdays and am considering a Chloe Marcie handbag. While I didn’t make a decision (small or medium, tan or grey or blush), seeing all my options in person definitely put it at the top of my wish list!

highlight: peppermint and honey boba tea from Alfred’s Tea Room

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Silver Lake

At this point, we were in almost desperate need of a restroom (downside of traveling with a 8 month pregnant woman). Fortunately, our next stop, MILK, was located next door to a 7-Eleven. Surely one of them would have a restroom. Or not…We forged ahead with our red velvet and grasshopper macaron ice cream sandwiches from MILK and headed to our next stop, Clare V, one of my favorite handbag designers. With a coffee shop next door, we thought we’d hit the restroom jackpot. Nope…now we could barely walk. After asking for the nearest restroom, we I waddled to a restaurant at the end of the block. Finally!

Highlight: macaroon ice cream sandwiches from MILK

Tip: don’t assume you’ll easily find a restroom, take every opportunity to use one

Downtown LA

By late afternoon we were hot and dragging a bit. We headed downtown to our hotel for a much-needed rest before walking to Grand Central Market for dinner. With lots of yummy options, we somehow both decided on the spaghetti and meatballs at Knead & Co Pasta Bar.

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Santa Monica

Sunday morning we started off the day by picking up donuts from Sidecar Doughnuts. They were dense and delicious. After reading rave reviews of Olive & June, we had scheduled pedicures to make the most of our time before stores opened for the day. I fully admit I’m a bit of a pedicure snob. From the check in questionnaire to the polish options to the bright and simple decor to the actual pedicure, we loved every minute of our Olive & June experience.

Highlight: tie between the cinnamon crumb doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts and pedicures at Olive & June

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Venice

The #1 place I wanted to visit on our trip was the Cuyana store in Venice on Abbott Kinney. To say I’m obsessed with their quality products and #fewerbetter mantra isn’t an understatement. The store didn’t disappoint. We both found ourselves making purchases. A monogrammed wallet for Heather and a set of travel cases and the softest cotton tee for me. I could have bought more, but stopped myself!

From there we meandered in and out of stores: Marine Layer, Aesop, Steven Alan and Burro. This stretch of Venice was probably my favorite of the entire trip. I had been looking for a gift to give Lawson from his little sister when he visits us in the hospital. Burro had so many cute options that it was hard for me to choose just one.

We were lucky enough to snag a seat at the community table at Gjelina for lunch and shared the roasted cauliflower appetizer and a pizza. Gjelina is on most of the travel guides as one of the best places to eat. We liked it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Blue Star Donuts on the other hand…we grabbed a few to take back home with us. Lighter than Sidecar Doughnuts, they were absolutely delicious and worth carrying the box through the airport.

highlight: shopping at Cuyana

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Other

We made a couple of other quick stops during our 36 hours in LA: Sugarfina in Beverly Hills and The Detox Market on Beverly Blvd. It was so hard to narrow our candy choices at Sugarfina- we could have bought out the entire shop! The Detox Market carries a ton of pure beauty products, including some of our favorite brands and others that were new to us.

highlight: all the natural beauty brands at The Detox Market

I’m already scheming a way to make it an annual trip. What should we add to our list for next year?!

photo of brentwood country mart by heather, all others by me

A Day at the Beach

A Day at the Beach with Beautycounter Sunscreen

 

We arrived on Oahu on Friday and have spent the past two days at the pool and beach. Lawson is adjusting pretty well to the 3-hour time difference. We’re usually the first ones up in the morning and have been getting out to explore while everyone else sleeps in a bit longer.

 

Lawson still has that soft skin typical of all babies. Keeping his skin protected from sun damage while using as natural of products as possible is really important to us. When my friend Kia reached out to tell me about Beautycounter products, the timing was perfect. I was searching for sunscreen for our trip and summer excursions to the pool and splash pad. I quickly placed an order for the Protect All Over Sunscreen, Stick Sunscreen and Lip Balm. We’ve used them the past couple of days and I’m happy to report we’re free of sunburn! The stick sunscreen is so easy to use on Lawson, especially his face. I might be most excited about the lip balm. I’ve had sun damage to my lips in the past and found it hard to find a lip balm with SPF.

 

There’s nothing like watching your child have new experiences. His tentative walks on the sand and the way he reaches up for your hand is priceless.

 

A Day at the Beach with Beautycounter Sunscreen

Beautycounter Baby Balm and Sunscreen

 

I could take photos of these two all day. Watching them play together on the beach put the biggest smile on my face. It’s the cutest!

 

If you’re interested in trying Beautycounter sunscreen or any other products, Kia will be happy to help you out!

3 Days in Portland

Last month we spent three days in Portland, Oregon. After starting out a bit rocky by missing our flight (or as Jim likes to say “processes at the airport prevented us from boarding our flight on time”), we made it there and absolutely loved exploring the city! We didn’t even scratch the surface of things to see and places to eat, but made a good dent. If you’re headed to Portland, there are some of our favorites.

 

3 Days in Portland

 

STAY

We stayed at The Nines, which is located in downtown Portland near Pioneer Square. The hotel was different than many others we’ve stayed at. It has a cool artistic vibe. The Warriors happened to be staying there while in town playing the Trail Blazers. If it’s good enough for Stephen Curry, it’s good enough for us. :) Lawson loved crawling down the long hallways. I was tired after walking, I can’t imagine how much energy he used up!

 

3 Days in Portland

 

EAT

I had a full list of places to try while in Portland and Blue Star Donuts was at the top of that list. It didn’t disappoint. We shared 6 of the best donuts I’ve ever had in my life. I think of them often. We went to Deschutes Brewery for dinner our first night. It was perfect for us – loud for Lawson, good food and beer flights for us (well, the beer flight was just for Jim). There are so many other spots I want to try on our next visit…Tasty & Adler, Pok Pok, Salt & Straw.

 

3 Days in Portland

SEE

After lounging around our room on Sunday morning, which happened to be Mother’s Day, we hopped in the car and headed to the coast. It’s an hour and a half drive west of Portland. For us desert dwellers, taking in all the greenery on the drive was beautiful and a sleeping baby in the backseat was a bonus. When we got to Cannon Beach, Lawson was still sleeping so we headed south to Manzanita and Rockaway Beach. The weather was exactly how I imagine the Oregon coast – overcast and a little foggy. Cannon Beach is definitely the largest of the beach towns.

Portland Coast

3 Days in Portland

3 Days in Portland

 

The following day, we headed to Multnomah Falls. When we were in Switzerland 3 years ago, we literally saw hundreds of waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is the closest we’ve seen to those in Switzerland since. At over 600 feet, it’s a gorgeous sight. It’s a popular destination and easily accessible, so be prepared for crowds.

 

3 Days in Portland

3 Days in Portland

 

SHOP

Shopping with a 1 year-old can be a challenge, but we managed to hit a few spots. Shinola, Imogene & Willie, Snow Peak, Powell’s Books and Canoe are all spots we don’t have in the Phoenix area. We bought Lawson two books at Powell’s and a bronze star for our mantel at Canoe. I love getting something that will remind us of the trip. I think about the fun we had together in Portland each time I read the books to Lawson or look at the star on our mantel.

 

After 3 hours awake overnight and an early morning flight, Lawson finally fell asleep on the plane with 30 minutes until we landed back in Phoenix. A tired baby is a sign of a great trip, right?!

 

3 Days in Portland

Home Sweet Home

Moon on the Chesapeake Bay

 

I took an unexpected blog break last week while on vacation with Jim’s family. I had the best of intentions to take advantage of babysitters and actually get ahead on some posts, but clearly that didn’t happen! I’m blaming it on a slow wifi connection and getting Lawson adjusted on his first trip.

 

We rented a house on the Cheasapeake Bay in Maryland. I had never been to Maryland and can now cross it off my list of states I’ve visited. In case you’re curious, I’ve now been to 36 of the 50 states (I downloaded an app to keep track of them). Lawson met more of his family and got to spend lots of time with them. He’s a lucky boy to be so well loved. It doesn’t hurt he’s such a cute and happy little guy!

 

While it was nice to escape the heat in Arizona, it’s always good to be back home. I picked right up with real life and have a week full of errands to get back on track before Lawson and I brave our first flight with just the two of us!

 

Anyway, here are some photos from the week. As you can see, it was a Lawson love fest!

 

LJC

LJC

LJC

LJC

LJC

Moon on the Chesapeake Bay