Photo Diary: Happy Birthday in Ojai

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I can say with confidence that I’m never happier in life than when I’m on an adventure – big or small, local or far. There’s something about being in new surroundings and exploring them that I feel most alive. Last week, I had the time of my life in Ojai for a much-needed birthday get-away, the sweetest surprise from my equally sweet guy.

Ojai Valley is a small, quaint, and friendly town about 66 miles from Los Angeles, a little more than an hour away from Santa Barbara. It’s an endearing combination of specialty shops, small businesses, art galleries, picturesque mountains and hiking trails, with a bohemian charm to match.

We stayed at the Emerald Iguana Inn, a charismatic boutique hotel with 13 unique rooms that all channel total cottage charm. The property rests on a secluded street, lush with greenery, meeting every expectation you can image (minus a not so great WiFi connection, but hey – who needs the internet when you’re surrounded by pure tranquility?). It’s the perfect get-away for two (kiddies are not allowed at this hotel). Our time inside the alluring Feather guest room was spent doing all things in salute to leisure and lounging: drinking wine at 1:00 in the afternoon on a Monday (just because…and I’m not even much a drinker!), reading, dining on the private patio, and watching old movies with the fireplace burning at night.

And of course, plenty of time was dedicated to walking downtown Ojai – window shopping and indulging in all things food.

This is a trip best told in pictures. What I will share is that as we settled into life in Ojai for just a few days away from the fast-paced streets of LA, I could literally feel my body and spirit slowing down and taking that deep breath I’d needed after the last few chaotic weeks. It’s amazing how driving one hour away was all I needed to recharge.

Here’s my photo diary of a very happy birthday in Ojai, CA.

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Photo Diary: Christmas Travels

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Home, sweet home. LA, I’ve missed you!

After a rather chaotic start to our holiday travels with an unexpected visit to the ER, things luckily fell right back into place just in time for Santa and our post-Christmas trip to Half Moon Bay. The weather gods were particularly, if not unusually, nice to us. We found ourselves exploring much of Northern California with clear skies and sunshine above.

Christmas was everything I’d hoped it would be. I was in good company, had lots good conversation and laughter, food and sweets were abundant, and Santa was very kind to me. I felt blessed to have such fun and loving people to share Christmas with this year.

And the merriness wasn’t over on December 26th. My boyfriend and I planned a little trip further up North to Half Moon Bay for 3 extra days of R&R to get away from it all.

I have to say, every time I travel – I find myself beyond delighted at the adventure, the change of pace, and change of scenery. Though I’m always grateful to get out of town and lose myself in new surroundings and to new experiences, I  somehow discover just that much more how I love this crazy little world we call “LA.” Dorothy really was on to something: there’s no place like home.

And with plenty of time before I head back to the “real world” of work deadlines and emails – I’m excited for a little stay-cation before I have to return back to everyday life in 2014 and it’ll be right here at home.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites. Here’s a little photo diary of the highlights during our Christmas travels with our California neighbors just above, some 300 miles away. Enjoy!

cookies

{Christmas cookies as designed by my boyfriend’s sister. I can’t tell you how many of these things I ate. Ugh. So worth it though.}

greenery

{On the Road to Half Moon Bay – the greenery of Highway 1.}

pompinio

{A pit stop at Pomponio State Beach. What a gorgeous day and my favorite shot.}

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{Ryan’s serious looking into the distance face.}

outhouse

{The not so glamorous part of traveling – this “out-house” like bathroom was an experience. yuck!}

hotel

{Hotel.}

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{Across the Golden Gate Bridge we go. On the way for a day trip to Sausalito.}

goldengate

{…But not before stopping atop the mountains for a million dollar view.}

cocoa

{Hot chocolate for 2 in Sausalito.}

beach

{Morning beach walk.}

ryan tree

{Boys and trees. I guess they never grow out of it.}

fire

{My favorite part of our hotel stay. Sitting near, gazing at, and warming by the fire.}

manuels{A rare Sunday afternoon cocktail before heading home.}

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|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

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With the official start to summer only 2 short days away, I’ve been excited at all the fun to come. I can’t say that I have an absolute favorite time of year, because I’m usually ready for the change in season at the exact time the new season joins us (and this can’t ring more true right now). While fall and winter both have their unique traits and celebrations, I’m NOT a fan of being cold. At all. So if I had to pick, there’s something about summer that makes me happiest. Perhaps it’s because I’m a California girl through and through. I love sunshine, warm weather (if we can keep it around circa 80-85 degrees), the beach, long days, 4th of July, outdoor movies, the Hollywood Bowl, sundresses, sunnies, sandals, fruity cocktails and iced lattes. So the plan this particular summer season would be to channel as much of what you see in the picture above for the next 3 months.

love & light,

Candice


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Kate Spade’s Alyx sunglasses featured on Keiko Lynn’s blog last week. WANT. ||

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|| These 14k Gold Peach Wire Wrapped Earrings from Diamblond’s Etsy Shop. ||

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|| Homemade Frozen Strawberry Lemonade // Recipe here. ||

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|| Ryan Gosling’s very wise and very true words. ||7b04ce5c55ab76db9a3211a4637a4614


|| Vintage inspired door knobs as curtain tie-backs // Details here. ||

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|| Revlon’s Plum Seduction Nail Polish (currently on my toes and perfect for summer!). ||

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|| What’s inspiring me to want to drop everything and take a summer adventure.||

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|| Mushroom, Asparagus + Prosciutto Pizza with Balsamic Glaze // Recipe here. ||

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*click photos for image sources.

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

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“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – unknown

On a rather ordinary day when I was desperately trying to get something done but not seeing the results that I wanted, this quote popped up in my Facebook news feed…at just the right time. I instantly took a deep breath and told myself to just “keep going, keep trying, have patience.” I think what is often disappointing when trying to build anything is when you feel like you’re making this great big effort, but not seeing it actualized as quickly as you would like. It’s especially frustrating when you see others already in the realm of the type of success you’re after, and then it spirals downhill from there. So today, I thought I would share these 17 words from an unknown source, but words that recently made all the difference in my day.

Since I know I can’t be alone in this: be patient, if you too, are struggling with anything today. Just keep going and do the best you can. Since persistence and patience are usually the factors that ultimately drive you to success, it’s only a matter of time. And when you do get there and have everything you’ve ever wanted – be mindful – your attitude defines you as much as your patience once did.

love & light,

Candice


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


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|| Nikki Montoya Jewelry // Mayan Necklace.||


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||Cupshakes = Cupcakes Blended with a Milkshake.||


|| Madewell’s Transport Tote in English Saddle.|| e138ed700e37c2b4c33486be4fe893eb


||Infinity scarves with shorts.||

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||Alternate uses for your muffin pan // Lemon infused ice cubes (great for summer) & Pancake bites.||

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|| Makeup.com’s How to Cover Up Acne Scars.||

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paris||I’ll see you someday soon, Paris.||



*click photos for image sources.

|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

Exactly one week ago, it was raining here in L.A. I had my heater on curled up with a warm cup of coffee slightly bummed that it had the audacity to actually rain during most of my stay-cation. Two days ago, I walked outside headed to see Iron Man 3 and nearly melted at the nearly 100 degree temperature. I know compared to some parts of the world, we’re very blessed when it comes to weather and I won’t argue that. I learned what COLD was when I walked outside my cozy hotel room in Boston one week before Christmas a few years ago. I can still feel the prickles on my skin just thinking about it and have such deep respect for those that aren’t complete weather wusses like I am.

Aside from the fact that our electricity bills hit their peak in the coming months, gas usage seemingly goes the opposite in my experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used the “it’s too hot to cook” excuse and promptly took myself out to eat out of  fear of turning on the oven. Seeing as how I’m now older (and ideally wiser) this won’t be an excuse for me anymore. When I stumbled across 20 Nutrition Experts’ Favorite 5-Minute Meals from Shape.com, I knew there were some real treasures to keep in mind; and while some of these recipes do call for oven use, The Everygirl’s 12 Simple Breakfast Recipes was a welcomed find. The point being, if in the near future you see me consistently using said excuse above as a reason not to cook (and I’m sure I’ll do it because I did last weekend), please feel free to forward this link to me as a gentle reminder.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


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||Santa Fe Salad // Full recipe here.||

Toss together 3/4 cup organic greens, 1/4 cup pico de gallo, and 1/2 cup each rinsed and drained canned black beans and thawed frozen organic corn. Top with 1/4 sliced avocado.


1-TheEverygirl_EasyBreakfast3||Baked Oatmeal //Full recipe here.||

Ingredients
1 -1 ½ cups of rolled oats
¼ cup of chopped raw pecans or walnuts/combination of both
¼ cup raisins, soaked in water for a couple minutes until plump
1 cup of Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces
1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Substitute various fruits and nuts based on preference

 


||Something to think about.||

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||Where I wouldn’t mind being at this exact moment.||62102e39d88a001fb44beabf83778f04


||Sole Society – Cassidy Medium Weekender// Deets here.||c8d3ee5b9bd7e960e0e9a7fc40238722


||Bistro Electric French Press Coffeemaker. // Deets here.||

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|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

There was a time when this week meant something more than work deadlines, trying to get to the gym, the grocery store, getting my laundry done, and a car wash. Spring break always sounded so exotic to me. In part, because I would hear the plans of my peers for their week of unadulterated freedom that included short road trips or jet-setting to Cabo for some fun in the sun.

In college, spring break was always the first week in March, but we would also get a few extra days off around Easter. I went to school with a lot of wealthy students whose parents paid their way for everything. Spring break for me was looking forward to some time off from my classes, but I would still work and might drive home to Orange County to see my family for a few days. Unfortunately, I never could afford to do much more than that.

I remember the times I used to watch T.R.L. on  MTV during spring break wondering what that experience would be like – where you pack your bags, hang out at a gorgeous resort, and live in a bikini for a whole week. In retrospect, I might have hated consistently being around a bunch of drunk people and would have much rather been at home taking naps, working, and reading (as was my typical experience). Then again, had I been able to afford those cliché spring break beach getaways, I imagine it would’ve been a lot of sleeping, partying, flirting with cute guys from different schools, lounging, and laughing mixed in with lots of unnecessary drunken drama. I’ll suppose I’ll never be 21 again to find out.

What I am looking forward to is the day that I can actually take myself on an extended vacation to an exotic resort and sip margaritas all day minus the annoying drunk college students. The best part will be that I paid for it all on my own and, as such, it would be a much richer and well-deserved experience.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| Vacay inspired accessories. ||

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|| Banishing doubt.||

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|| Strawberries & cream crepes // recipe here. ||

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|| Corner nightstands. ||

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|| Prada arm candy. ||

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|| A little Easter bunny humor. ||

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|| How to decorate a cupcake by Stephanie Franz, pastry chef at my favorite cupcake shop – Cupcakes Couture. ||



|| What I’m Lovin’ Right Now ||

I’ve secretly always wanted to just pick-up and move to Europe for at least a year (it’s a toss-up between Italy or France). I would channel Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love (minus the messy divorce) completely immersing myself in a new culture. I’d learn French or Italian, sit and write (or blog!) in cafes, walk to museums, sip cappuccinos, develop a hardcore appreciation for fine wine with lunch and dinner, have conversations with strangers, and eat croissants with a side of pasta all day long (not gaining a pound, of course). Needless to say, I was elated to read Vanessa Larson’s inspiring story of a gal who stopped talking the talk and did it. This isn’t a dream that I’ve given up on completely. I’m still pretty young, but find that as I get older, it feels like time is slipping away and I’ll be twenty years older looking back at a youth that I wish I’d taken better advantage of. It’s my personal biggest fear and would be my lifelong regret. I cannot think of anything more enchanting than following your dreams, and when seeing that magic happen for someone else, it re-enlivens you to pursue your own.


here’s what i’m lovin’ right now


|| …Following your dreams // Read Vanessa Larson’s story here. ||

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|| Two Penny Blue // Cambridge Blazer in navy. ||

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|| Words. ||

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|| 10 Minutes to happy hour // Sparkling White Peach Sangria // Recipe here. ||

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|| Chic storage // Sunglasses case to store cords and cables in your bag. Genius. ||

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|| See By Chloé // My next perfume splurge. // Those magazine scented pages do work. ||

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|| Blueberry Dessert Pizza // Recipe here. ||

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|| Birchbox Tutorials // How To: Curl Your Hair With A Flatiron. ||