Highlights

Road Trip Home ATG FINAL{California, through a car window.}

It occurred to me just as I sat down to write this, that though I’ve had the pleasure of technically being on vacation for just over a week now, it feels as if it officially starts right this moment. Christmas has come and gone, along with all the craze (but fun!) that comes with it; the road trip to and from Santa Cruz is behind me; my gifts are safely stored in their new homes; my laundry is done; my fridge is stocked; a new book is on my Kindle ready to be devoured; I just put on a pot of coconut vanilla tea (my current obsession); and my mind is slowing. In other words, I can physically feel myself relaxing some – finally!

I suspect that while I adore the time spent looking out a car window at the many facets of California for 6 straight hours, spending time with my boyfriend’s family for Christmas, then taking a day trip into San Francisco, it’s hard to truly decompress when you’re not in your own surroundings. At least, it is for me. Though I always love travel, a change of scenery, a hiatus from the day-to-day, I always seem to miss home. I’m happy to be back in La-La-Land!

I smile often as I look back over this first week of my vacation and Christmas Day. “Santa” was extremely kind this year and I’m happy to have gotten to spend some time getting to know my boyfriend’s family more. Yet, I’m reminded about why one must be careful over the holidays. It’s easy to get caught up in the “stuff” and forget that all the build-up, while delightful, can often lead to a sense of….what’s the right word? Disappointment? Sadness? People spend weeks and weeks gearing up for one day. I’ve often heard that once the gifts are opened, you’ve gained a few pounds thanks to the amount of food readily available, and your loved ones head home and back to their lives, there’s a bit of a deflation in spirit the day after, which is understandable.

Perhaps it’s because I knew I was coming home to 2 more weeks of restfulness, doing nothing, tackling little projects around the house, thinking about my goals for 2015, and spending time with friends and family in-between, I wasn’t completely deflated in spirit, but looking forward to why I took an extended holiday this year: a chance to recharge after an exhausting 2014. And that’s exactly what I intend to do…

…but not before sharing the highlights of life lately! x

Packed for XMAS Vacation ATG FINAL

{road trip ready.}

Blogging in Hotel ATG FINAL

{A little Christmas Eve blogging from our hotel room.}

Ipod Nano Xmas 2014 ATG FINAL

{You guys – Santa gave me the gift of music this year! I’ve been DYING without my old nano since it broke up with me last summer and this made me SO happy! Those CDs that have been collecting in my car for half the year have met their match…once again.}

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream ATG FINAL

{A day in SF found me back at The Marketplace Ferry Building enjoying Humphry Slocombe’s Malted Milk Chocolate ice cream w/ hot fudge.}

{p.s. It was as good as it looks!}

Scarlet Mare Earrings ATG FINAL

{The gift of bling from Scarlet Mare Studio won’t go to waste.}

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Advertisements

“To You, From You”

85e036d02caeb57a0a0b09a196281834

Happy Christmas Eve! If you’re anything like me at the moment, you’re relishing the sensation of what this time of year is all about: good company, good food, and a much-needed change of pace. It’s been nice to sleep in a bit, get through back issues of magazines, catch a film in the middle of the day, and to generally leave the routine of what a normal week might look like behind. And yet, in some ways, I haven’t. Admittedly, it’s been a struggle to really decompress and stay present. It’s showing me just how much pent-up exhaustion I’ve been carrying around with me for quite some time. Perhaps it’s because it takes some time to re-train your brain on how to not think about whatever problems that typically distract the mind day-to-day. Perhaps it’s because prepping for the holidays comes with its own set of things to add to yet another “to-do” list that still has your brain on the go, effectively preventing it from really unwinding.

I often find my mind slipping toward work or some issue that I promised myself I would step away from for the next 3 weeks to relax and enjoy the holidays, and I get really frustrated with myself. I then get frustrated with myself that I’m frustrated with myself and it’s a bit of a vicious cycle, which completely defeats the purpose of why I made myself take an extended holiday vacation this year. I need the rest. I need some space to breathe and think about what I really want. I’ve already decided that I’ll have to make some pretty big changes in 2015 and I can’t get there if I’m constantly in the middle of a vicious cycle, not taking the time to stop.

I was reading December’s issue of O Magazine on the drive up to Santa Cruz yesterday to spend Christmas with boyfriend’s family, and came across a timely article from Martha Beck, aptly titled “To You, From You.” Her thought process was that for every gift you give someone, you should give something to yourself. She wasn’t talking about expensive physical gifts either. Essentially, she was making the point to not get so lost in the craze of the holidays that you forget to replenish and think about yourself. I realized immediately what I needed to give myself: a break.

I can be pretty hard on myself, be in my head too much, and rehash or analyze a situation so much that it becomes anything but productive.

So, while yes this time of year is for being with loved ones, sharing gifts, and eating to your heart’s desire, I thought I’d take a different approach this Christmas Eve and remind you, as Martha Beck did for me just in the nick of time so as to not miss it altogether, to remember to give something to yourself.

I’m decidedly giving myself a break. If I start thinking about work, about what a bad blogger I am for missing a post date, or complaining about “x, y, or z;” instead of getting frustrated or disappointed in myself, I’ll simply tell myself, “give something to you, Candice. Let it go. Give yourself a break.”

This is my gift to you (through Martha, of course), which sums up my opinion on how to really enjoy and stay present this holiday season.

And speaking of being present…I’m off to rejoin my holiday vacation, now in-progress.

Merry Christmas to you! x

 

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

*Image sourced from Pinterest.

Highlights

The GROVE TREE ATG FINAL{Where Angelenos go for Christmas Cheer, The Grove, for the 100-foot tall tree and lights everywhere!}

December is off to a chaotic start to say the least, but luckily I’m only 2 weeks away from some much-needed downtime. It’s been helpful to lean on the holiday season to make my way through. Christmas music does wonders during chaos!

LA had its first real bout of rain in ages this week. It’s been so long since we’ve had this much rain, that I’d completely forgotten how much my hair doesn’t like it! I’m willing to be a trooper about it though…in the name of our drought situation. I enjoy the rain – especially when it happens to arrive on a day that I can stay home and curl up with my Kindle or my Netflix queue and a cup of tea (as opposed to having to deal with the eternal nightmare that the 405 becomes until the roads dry again). The caveat to all of this, is that whenever it rains for more than a few days, I can also feel myself emotionally changing. Aside from my hair not being a fan of the rain, I also forget how much my body thrives on Vitamin D. It’s a stern reminder that I’m a total SoCal gal. If I don’t get some sun after a couple of days, I can feel my mood take a complete nosedive. As such, it pretty much solidifies that I won’t survive many other places in the world with actual weather. I’m stuck here.

Unfortunately, the holidays have become a rough time of year for me as I’ve gotten older, but I do still try to channel as much of what makes this season special. Aside from Christmas music, it’s always helpful to head to The Grove to walk around marveling at how they transform a simple shopping center into a stunning holiday oasis (pictures don’t do the place justice). This was certainly a big highlight since we caught up last.

Another highlight had to be a rainy Tuesday night in North Hollywood. If you’re looking for a great film out right now, I saw Whiplash earlier this week with a girlfriend and it blew my mind away. It’s aptly titled, given that you literally feel like you have a case of “Whiplash” when you leave the theater after following Andrew’s harrowing musical journey. It’s one of the most intense films I’ve seen in a while that stays with you days later. It will certainly be in my top 10 films of the year. Bravo to everyone involved!

The weekend ahead will be low-key. I don’t have any plans as of writing time, and that’s a-okay with me.

Have a great weekend! x

Bo Nuage ATG FINAL

{Admiring the pastry case at Bo Nuage…}

Bo Nuage Red Velvet ATG FINAL

{…then indulging in their Red Velevet Meringue Cake. Yum!}

Whiplash ticket ATG FINAL

{It’s been 3 days and I still have “Whiplash.”}

Dalai lama Quote ATG FINAL{The writing on the wall (literally)…in a public bathroom. I loved these words.}

 

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


 Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Mixtape Monday: Holiday Hits

Happy December! Happy Holidays!

Coming off a relaxing, yet productive Thanksgiving weekend here. I finished a book, started another one; caught an “interesting” (for lack of a better word) film, The Babadook, at the Silent Movie Theater; successfully completed our “Rocky” movie marathon (gosh, do I love that series!), made it to The Grove for some much-needed holiday cheer, and ate more ham than is probably legal! Suffice to say, all is well at the moment. I have to admit, I’m anxious for the next few weeks to pass. I CANNOT wait for a more proper vacation, where I plan to unplug for 3 full weeks. Ahh!

Until then, why not enjoy what makes this time of year so special, the magic of the holidays! I’m kicking off December in-style with a little Christmas music today. I made a holiday mixtape with some of a my favorites last year and think it’s the perfect way to get in a festive mood.

Listen along if you’d like! Please hit the link noted just after the jump or click here and enjoy!

Have a great week. x

All That Glitters

Collage

It’s official. Some light holiday decorating and a weekend filled with watching some of my favorite holiday movies and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I thought it would be fun to curate a list of some of my favorite Christmas songs – old and those that are destined to be new favorites. My two “go-to” Christmas CD’s have always been Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas and Josh Groban’s Noel. There are also some great tracks on Celine Dion’sThese Are The Special Times that are nostalgic to Christmas when I was a teenTo mix it up a bit, I decided to check out new releases from both Kelly Clarkson and Mary J. Blige. I have to say, I think Mary’s new holiday album, A Mary Christmas, will make it into rotation for years to come! And Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red has solid tracks…

View original post 80 more words

5 Reasons This Week Will Rock!

5 Reasons November 2014 _ ATG FINAL

1. | A Honey Baked Ham is on the way…

Naturally, we have to turn our attention to the important part of this week and that’s the amount of food that will be consumed. Without question, I always, always, always get excited for our new Thanksgiving tradition of indulging in the best ham EVER from the Honey Baked Ham Store. We add a few of the necessary sides that we order from Bristol Farms: mashed potatoes, candied yams, honey glazed carrots, and their green bean almondine; bake a pie; and sit back and eat…and eat…and eat. The caveat is that we tend to burn-out on ham because we eat it for breakfast and dinner the next 3 days after Thanksgiving as leftovers. By the following Monday, I’m usually so sick of ham I can’t stand it…until the following year comes and I’m excited all over again. Hooray for ham! (image via.)

2. | A short work week…

It’ll be a relatively quick and quiet work week ahead. This is in large part because a lot of people are taking the entire week off. I’m opting to work through Wednesday and save the vacation days to take a longer Christmas vacation in late December through early January instead (for a much-needed and restful 3 week break!). I have 3 big things I want to get crossed off my to-do list on the work front and then I’m ready to leave it all behind in favor of food, a good book, and finally correcting the error upon learning that my boyfriend hasn’t seen all the Rocky movies, which happen to be streaming on Netflix (minus the last one, which we’ll borrow a copy of) and make it a Rocky movie marathon this holiday weekend.

3. | Snow in LA…

It’s no secret that it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays to me until I make a stop at the best place in LA to get in the spirit, The Grove! (Yes, you read that right). I’ve written before about why The Grove makes me happy around this time of year, so I won’t go into it again. I will say that it’s become a bit a tradition after Thanksgiving to stop at The Grove over the holiday weekend to see the 100-foot REAL Christmas tree, the lights, the music, the people, and Santa’s “mansion,” because there’s no place in LA that does it better when it comes to channeling the magic of the season. I’m willing to overlook the usually way too crowded venue, grab a hot chocolate with my guy and walk around to take it all in, just before they drop the faux snow at 7:00pm. (Hey – it’s LA and the only way we’ll ever get to channel our version of a “White Christmas.”) It makes me smile just thinking about it.

4.| Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

That aforementioned good book that I hope to lose myself in is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s my next book club read that the gals selected for December and I’m excited for it. I don’t know much about it to give you a thumbs up or down since I plan to start it this week, but I’ve have heard that it’s a great saga set during the Christmas season and a wonderful way to compliment to the holidays if you’re looking for something heartwarming and charming.  (image via.)

5.| The Holidays are here…

I like to think that the holiday season officially kicks-off the day after Thanksgiving (though every store I’ve been in somehow got the memo that Halloween was an appropriate time to start shelling Christmas stuff at you). I love the idea that just a few short days from now, it’ll be time to pull out the Christmas music, make lots of cocoa, and go about the business of celebrating.  So I won’t wish you  a “Happy holidays” quite yet, but go ahead and make it a point to save my well wishes for first thing Friday morning. Happy Holidays to you (on Friday)!

I hope you find 5 reasons this week will rock for you, too. They’re there, I promise. Have a lovely week ahead! x

Blog Signature Official_FINAL


Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin

Photo Diary: Christmas Travels

road trip

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.}

ryan serious

{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.}

sf

{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.}

Stay in Touch: Facebook Twitter Bloglovin‘ 

In the Spirit of Christmas

Blend2Greetings from Santa Cruz, CA!

It’s been a whirlwind start to our little holiday vacation, that thankfully seems to be settling down just in time for the festivities. Unfortunately, my boyfriend had been experiencing very serious stomach pains off and on during our travels up North yesterday that eventually landed us in the E.R. until the wee early hours on Christmas Eve, but it now seems all is well. It’s always hard to watch someone you love in so much discomfort, so I’m happy to see him doing better – that’s a Christmas gift in and of itself. I made a small joke while we were waiting for his lab results that this might turn out to be one of those cliché Hollywood movies where the entire family pours in to a hospital room, decorates the space, and opens presents over the hospital bed. You know, “we’ll bring Christmas to you!”

So, Christmas Eve has found us spending much of the day resting, in part, because we didn’t get back to our hotel until 3am and later this morning took a short jaunt out to the pharmacy and the store to buy more stomach friendly foods. After a bit of rest, I’m very much looking forward to a nice dinner out with his family and then our annual drive around town to see the Christmas lights. This should do the trick to bring things back on track.

It’s funny how life works. Among all the stress and pre-planning for the holidays, the to-do lists, shopping lists, celebrating, thinking ahead toward the New Year and what you want out of life – it’s when things like this happen that the universe is reminding us of the undeniable importance taking of ourselves and those around us. It’s interesting sometimes how that particular bullet-point doesn’t always make it on our “to-do” lists.

With that, I want to use what happened to us as we embarked on our holiday adventure to also remind you to take care of yourself and those dear to you. Be present. Be in the moment. Be in the spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you!