Highlights: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

During the Holidays, most of the fun for me comes from the build-up, immersing myself in the spirit of the season. Weeks of planning, shopping, listening to holiday music, wrapping presents, going to festive parties, stopping by The Grove, sipping warm beverages, decorating and then enjoying the warm glow of a Christmas tree; and before you know it, it’s showtime…


After a relaxing and lazy start to the day, we spent Christmas Eve in Downtown Santa Cruz walking along the quaint Pacific Avenue.  It was an afternoon perusing charming boutiques and the used book and music stores. Of course, out of all the boutique places around us, I go and buy something from The Gap (I know, which is like everywhere!). I also tried my boyfriend’s favorite cookie from his old stomping grounds (delish!) before meeting up for a casual dinner and movie with his family. We ended the night with a short drive around town to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood. It was definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


{Strolling Pacific Avenue.}

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{Enjoying the famous Lemon Drop cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company.}


{Admiring the marquee of the old Del Mar Theater.}


{Inside the Del Mar. Our Christmas Eve movie was Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away in 3D. Warning: amazing visuals, super boring and shallow story line.}


Rise and shine, bright and early. Christmas day had arrived and it was filled with lots of smiles, gratitude, food and good company. Let’s just say Santa was very kind this year. It’s always the things you’ve had your eye on, but mentally filed away for another time that happen to magically appear under the tree that are my favorite. I also love a really good surprise. This year after giving and receiving gifts that couldn’t have been more perfect, my boyfriend went and did the unbelievable. The last gift opened was a paper confirmation of a 3 night hotel stay in Carmel. Our Northern California Christmas was being extended! Here are just few photo highlights that don’t even begin to capture all the highlights of that special day. I was in such a fog of happiness, I rarely took my camera out.


{Sneak peek at some of the wrapped presents.}


{Surprise! I’d been eyeing these awesome purple hand blown glasses from Maison Midi on La Brea for months!}


{Picture this: A 4.5 pound bag of Hot Tamales, gift-wrapped! I didn’t even know they came this big!}


{Victoria’s Secret gift card. Always a welcomed present.}


{Getting ready for dinner.}


{Hotel confirmation for a 3 night stay in Carmel!}


Dylan’s Candy Bar, Los Angeles

Location: 6333 West Third Street, Mid-City

Boy, was I like a kid in a candy store a few days ago. Literally! Welcome to the newest addition to The Farmer’s Market at The Grove, Dylan’s Candy Bar. I’ve never been to the popular New York flagship location so I didn’t know what to expect other than wall-to-wall candy. I was not disappointed. The well-designed, brightly lit, and colorful interior couldn’t have been more perfect. You’re instantly in sugar land from the moment you walk in the door. The smell of fructose is overwhelmingly alive in the air. The chocolate fountain is a sight to see. Endless bulk candy and chocolate choices are all around for the taking spending.

{Chocolate fountain.}

{Bulk candy.}

At $12.99 a pound for bulk selections, the price is steep (especially since candy is naturally pretty heavy). While the different packaging options were cute and a nice souvenir, they were also on the pricey side. Don’t expect to leave with a spiffy Dylan’s branded container filled with any candy of your liking for less than $15.00. Somehow this didn’t bother me so much. The point of stores like this is to splurge and enjoy the environment, so go in with that mindset. All of this stuff is overpriced!

{Regular packaged candy selections.}

{Interior, Hot Tamales bin (yay!), specialty packaging options, goodies for sale.}

I managed to leave with 4 chocolate candy bars and only $10.00 less in my bank account. It’s funny how in stores like this you’d be willing to spend a bit more on candy, but would blow a gasket anywhere else at the thought of spending so much on sugar. The lady next to me at the register racked up $52.00! As of writing time, I have yet to try any of the candy bars (I know, I know) but I’m really looking forward to indulging in the 4 Belgian chocolate choices I walked out with: Red Velvet Cake, S’mores, Brownie Batter, and Milk Toffee Crunch.

{My purchases.}



{Full store view.}

Highlights: The Weekend

It was a complicated couple of days for me this weekend. Suffice to say I went through a myriad of emotions, for a myriad of reasons. (I think the ladies can understand this feeling every once in a while :)).  As the weather decided to be a bit kinder this weekend, so did my take on everything that was happening around me and within me. I managed to keep an eye on the sunshine! Here are a few highlights that brought many smiles to my face:

Movie marathon on Sunday. Instant mood booster. We even covered three genres. Sometimes you just need a completely lazy day in bed watching movies.

The simplicity of grabbing my two favorites from Starbucks: an iced grande, soy, toffee nut latte & a cranberry orange scone.

My sweet boyfriend bringing a big bag of my favorite candy (don’t judge!)

They say money doesn’t buy you happiness. In this case, I beg to differ and tend to do so when it comes to flowers. $5.00 well spent!