Tag Archives: California

San Clemente California


Some moments from the holiday break in San Clemente, California i.e. a place full of magic where the December sun projects warmth onto your skin. San Clemente feels timeless – as if the passing of time has not quickened its pace of life and as if it looks the same as it did three decades ago. It is retro, nostalgic and a bit magical, evidenced by its cotton candy sunsets and glacial low tide. Here is to hoping that 2017 is full of more magical moments than those in 2016.  


^^ This photo feels reminiscient of my time, nearly two years ago, in Istanbul when an older man, recognizing my affinity for photography and some seagulls, threw bread off the side of our boat in order to attract the birds to fly alongside us. It is one of those moments that continues to remind me of our essential humanity, and propensity for connectivity. (Again,) here’s to hoping that 2017 is more full of that.

See you later San Clemente (and California)!

El Matador Beach in Malibu

Recently, it has come to my understanding that idleness is not a past time that I actively enjoy. And with a lengthy amount of Christmas break, we were determined to explore our native California and venture up to El Matador Beach in Malibu. As a born-and-bred East Coaster, with nostalgia comes the strong scent of salty Cape Cod beaches and chilly falls with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins. California warmth and consistent sunshine does not breed that within me.

Yet, exploring the coast or, rather, driving up the PCH, leads me to believe that a certain type of nostalgia exists for the nooks and crannies that I have yet to see in California. Soon enough, let’s make the adventure up North and see what lies ahead. I think a lot about potential open roads and leafy trees and knit sweaters that make up for cooler temperatures. There is an uncertainty about how much time remains wandering around these parts – and there’s an excitement and anxiety about that there feeling.

I hope your holidays were filled with much more life and laughter than that of my flu-ridden family and I. We can only reflect and laugh at our complete incapability of movement or activity of any sorts. I am hoping that this winter will see a change of pace and a increased presence back around these parts. I almost forgot how much I love doing what I do.


Spring Break


Apologies are much overdue around these parts. Winter Quarter cumulated with finals week and a return to the land of constant sunshine, warmth and the occasional sea breeze in the form of Spring Break. Many hours spent in the library created some difficulty in generating creative content in this here space. Yet, I am returning to Chicago refreshed and renewed – excited to explore the city in more acceptable temperatures.

For now, I offer my sincerest of apologies and some pretty pictures from this place that I once called home. It is strange now to hear myself call “home” as in Chicago. Even in this short time apart, I am itching to get back. I held off on making a March Chicago To-Do list as impending finals, internship deadlines and a two week stint in SoCal limited my availability to explore.

In SoCal lately: (1) Morning runs and walks under the San Clemente Pier (2) Continuing the donut trend at Sidecar (3) Always by the water (4) Playing with shadows – and my running shoes (5) Bokeh Sunsets at Crystal Cove State Park – after visiting the Beachcomber (6) Wishing that I could still fit into the J.Crew kids section, specifically these bunny ears headbands


Guide to Orange County – San Juan Capistrano

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When I go home now a days, I go back to Orange County, California. It’s right between Los Angeles and San Diego – right by the beach. And yep, it was the location for: The OC, Laguna Beach and The Real Housewives of Orange County. I would not describe it as urban or even suburban – it is a place of its own. Growing up in a small CT town, I am used to  a town with a main street. However, in Orange County, we don’t exactly live in towns. We  identify ourselves based on our housing development. San Juan Capistrano reminds me of my CT hometown. It is small, quaint and historic. And it actually has a main street! While I spend the next few weeks in CA, I thought I would share my take on Orange County through a Guide to Orange County: Insert *town/city* name here. So her we go!

San Juan is the location of one of California’s missions (Mission San Juan Capistrano). Because of the historic mission, the town has a historic feel with old brick buildings, vintage railroad cars and the mission itself!

San Juan Capistrano is also home to swallows! Every March, the swallows return to San Juan and the entire town celebrates with a big “fiesta” of sorts. The Mission’s Great Stone Church houses these little birds before they leave for Argentina in October

Guide to the OC - San Juan 6small Guide to the OC - San Juan 3small

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Guide to the OC - San Juan 2To Do

Visit Mission San Juan Capistrano. Shop for unique finds at one of San Juan’s antique shops. Experience old San Juan on a historic walking tour. Catch a film at the Regency San Juan Capistrano movie theater. Visit one of San Juan’s museums. Hike on one of San Juan’s recreational trails

To Eat

Ramos House – Located on the oldest remaining residential street in California. If you are willing to splurge, go for the weekend brunch (the apple cinnamon beignets are too die for). And if you aren’t, go on a normal day (still get the beignets) and try the truffle mac n’cheese.

Los Rios Tea House – Located on the same street as Ramos House, the Los Rios Tea House is one of my favorite places in the OC. A quaint tea house with the cutest decorative elements (and heart shaped scones)! I love the Triple Crown Salad, the Los Rios tea and tea service (Vanilla Black tea). If nothing else, go here for the insta.

Sundried Tomato – A large menu full of options for everyone. I love their Comfort Combo (grilled cheese with their signature sundried tomato soup) and pesto chicken sandwich.

Hummingbird House Cafe – A greek-style restaurant that is always packed with people on the outdoor patio. I do love homemade hummus.

If you made it through this entire post, congratulations! Of course there are so many places that I am unfamiliar with in San Juan. So many restaurants that I have not eaten at. And so many beautiful hidden treasures that I have not found. These are some of my favorite haunts in San Juan – if you are ever in the Orange County area, I would check them out!

Duff’s Cake Mix

Duff's Cake Mix 8Duff’s Cake Mix was the destination for our LA Adventure. The decision rested heavily on its photo opportunities and proximity to the pink wall. Duff’s Cake Mix is part bake-up, part DIY-cake decorating. And since I recently turned the big two-zero, it seemed appropriate to decorate a cake along the lines of Cake Boss.

Not only was it really fun to roll out fondant and design our cake, but the cake was actually really, really good. After years of gingerbread-house making -where everything looks significantly better than they taste – I was very pleased. Reminder: this is the girl who pretty much only consumes kale, quinoa and almonds.
Duff's Cake Mix 7Duff's Cake Mix 6Duff's Cake Mix 5Duff's Cake Mix 2The finished product! Since L and I were introduced through “DG,” we thought it appropriate to decorate our cake in pink and blue. The added pearls and yellow serve as substitutes for the bronze. Much to our dismay, there was no anchor cut-out for the fondant. Duff's Cake Mix 3


Malibu Pier



Can you believe these blue skies? I can’t – even though we visited on a cool California day (the wind was rivaling Chicago), it was such a beautiful sight. The Malibu pier lies along PCH – with beaches and parking up and down it. It was so empty on a Wednesday afternoon. And so so beautiful. I am constantly amazed at the many beautiful spots in this world. I honestly can’t choose my favorite.



The Malibu Farm is at the end of the Malibu Pier – a perfect spot for a bite to eat. It is so cute, healthy and delicious. Check it out. But remember to check it’s times because it closes at 3!


I was seriously stunned that we stumbled upon this beautiful spot. It reminds me of pictures of Santorini, Greece.



It was a perfect day.